Course title:

Language & the Media

Език и медии



Tutor: Milena Katsarska


Mode of delivery: Face-to-face lectures and seminars, group discussions, independent work, guided reading

Course place and status within the program


This is an elective course for MA students in Linguistics & Translation and MA students in Language & Linguistics. The course has a classroom workload of 30 classes and awards 3 ECTS credits.


Competence expectations


Advanced level of English (C1 or C2)

Any number of courses in linguistics and society and in particular courses such as Introduction to Sociolinguistics; Text linguistics; Translation of Socio-Political texts


Aims and objectives of the course


The aims of this course are:

  • to sensitize students to cultural implications in media texts

  • to introduce the key concepts in media studies

  • to introduce some of the key methods of analyzing media texts

  • to explore some of the main theoretical debates in Media Studies and Media Education


By the end of the module students will be able to:

  • approach critically from a cultural perspective various media texts

  • carry out independent research work (follow-up, audience reception analysis, etc.)

  • write a research report or analytical essay on selected media texts


Key concepts: media language, institution, audience, representation; ideology, mode of address, hegemony, encoding/decoding, intertextuality and genre; media literacy and critical media pedagogy

Texts: The makes use of various media texts (newspapers, magazines, video- and audiotapes, new electronic media texts), mostly of British, American and Bulgarian origin


Course requirements


Active participation in classroom screenings and group discussions

Completion of an independent research/analytical task which shows evidence of relating the background reading for the course to a selection of media texts of students own choosing

Clear written presentation of your research/analysis which follows academic standards for academic essays or research papers


Mode of assessment


Assessment in the course is based on a research paper/analysis of about 1200 words, containing references and/or appendices of the material discussed.

  1. Analyzing TV News Broadcast Openings

Choose any two TV news openings on the same day but of different broadcast agencies. Compare and contrast them, using the frameworks in chapter 4 "News from NoWhere: Televisual News Discourse and the Construction of Hegemony" by Stuart Allan, pp. 105-141, as well as the handouts with terms on shot construction. In your analysis make sure to comment on all aspects of televisual discourse: linguistic choices, intonation, accentuation, shot structure, accompanying images or footage, dress code of presenters, non-verbal cues, body language, etc. 

  1. Analyzing Print News Stories

Choose two (or three, if they are very short) news stories from different print media and analyze their narrative structure based on any of the approaches to narrative we discussed in the course. Chapter 7 "Telling Stories", pp. 110-118 and Chapter 3 "The Discourse Structure of News Stories", pp 64-104 will be especially useful to this aim.  

  1. Analyzing Front Page Layout

Choose several front pages of different newspapers on the same day (from Newseum website, for instance). Compare and contrast them, relying on the analytical frames provided in Chapter 7, "Front Pages: (The Critical) Analysis of Newspaper Layout", pp 186-219. You may also find Chapter 2, "Opinions and Ideologies in the Press", pp 21-31, useful to this aim. 

  1. Analyzing Advertisements

Choose two or more advertisements which share common features (of product, of same media, of target audience) but are also different in other respects. Analyze their content and messages, relying on the readings from the offprint of "Words in Ads" by Greg Myers; "The Discourse of Advertising" by Guy Cook; or "What Do Advertisements Mean?" by Gillian Dyer.




Branston, Gill, and Roy Stafford. The Media Student's Book. 5th ed. London and New York: Routledge, 2010.

Bell, A. and Garrett, P., eds. Approaches to Media Discourse. London: Blackwell, 1998.

Deacon, David, et al. eds. Researching Communications. London and Sydney: Arnold, 1999.

Graddol, David, and Oliver Voyd-Barret. Media Texts: Authors and Readers. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters and the Open University, 1994.

Bennett, Tony, Grossberg, Lawrence, and Morris, Meaghan, eds. New Keywords: A Revised Vocabulary of Culture and Society, London and New York: Blackwell, 2005.

Hall, Stuart, ed. Representation: Cultural Representations and Signifying Practices, London, Thousand Oaks and New Delhi: Sage. 1997.

Inglis, F. Media Theory - An Introduction, Blackwell, 1990.

Richardson, John E. Analysing Newspapers: An Approach from Critical Discourse Analysis. Palgrave Macmillan, 2000.

Reah, Danuta. The Language of Newspapers. 2 ed., Routledge, 2002.

Mcloughlin, Linda. The Language of Magazines. Routledge, 2000.

Boardman, Mark. The Language of Websites. Routledge, 2004.