Reported the term ‘reported speech’ to describe instances

Reported speech is a primary meansby which journalists report news in media. Its utilization in media discoursebecomes inherently intertextual as it naturally evokes earlier texts andrecontextualizes them into new contexts (Fairclough, 1992; Sclafani, 2008;Smirnova, 2009). My study illustrates how the state-run newspaper utilizesreported speech in a way that appears to frame the women activists as acolliding threat and the negative-other(Tahir, 2013) and the driving campaign as a political uprising that becomeshazardous to the state law. Particularly, my analysis shows how the use ofreported speech in the state-run newspaper reiteration of the spokesman’s wordsconcerning women evokes his earlier statements about terrorism and threats tonational security. This drastically differs from the independent newspaper’sreporting style, where the social aspect of the campaign is foregrounded.

              Iuse the term ‘reported speech’ to describe instances where the articles andheadlines in the data report or quote something another person have said. Thiskind of reporting is not viewed as verbatim; it involves a process ofrecontextualization where the meaning gets reshaped. This is the essentialnotion behind Tannen’s (1989) ‘constructed dialogue,’ where the term highlightsthe process of formation of dialogue by the speaker in the new context.

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Tannenstates that the term ‘reported speech’ can be misleading because it falselysuggests that the reported unit is verbatim or almost verbatim. Instead, sheargues that ‘reported speech’ is “not reported at all but creatively constructed by a current speaker in a current situation”(105) (emphasis mine). She refers to ‘reported speech’ as ‘constructeddialogue’ to highlight that in recontextualizing the words of another person orof ourselves (even if verbatim), the speaker/writer alters the meaning in someway and constructs new meanings in the new context.             Ifully share Tannen’s notion that reporting prior speech is never a simpleduplication of words, the speaker’s process of reporting changes the originalutterance, whether aware of it or not. I will, however, use of the term’reported speech’ in my analysis because it allows me to make the distinctionbetween direct and indirect reported speech devices, and because it seems morefit to describe the written journalistic style of reporting news. Theremaining of this section focuses on studies that examined reported speech inmedia discourse within a theoretical framework of intertextuality.

Smirnova(2009) examines the use of reported speech in four national British newspapers,and compares their use of reported speech based on the dialogue theory byBakhtin (1981). His study emphasizes the “dialogic non-autonymous”understanding of quotations (80). The non-autonymous approach involves “theassumption that relations between the quotation and its context are that ofdialogue and evaluation” (81), which resonates with Tannen’s notion of’constructed dialogue.’ According to Smirnova, citing Bakhtin’s theories ofdialogism and polyglossia, “reported speech is one of the means ofintertextuality creation” (81). The author highlights the use of reportedspeech as an argumentative tool, where certain sources are cited to reinforcethe article’s argument. He found that the use of reported speech contributes tohow the British newspapers frame the argument discussed, which ultimately aimsto manipulate the public opinion. Smirnovashows how syntactic and semantic aspects of reported speech contribute to theirargumentative function by proposing two divisions at the level of structure ofreported speech, namely literal and liberal ones.

Literal structures aim at a more faithful reproduction of theutterance, and they integrate the quoted segment as a segment belonging tosomeone else, typically using quotation marks. Liberal structures, on the other hand, involve more freedom ofreproduction of the reported segments, and predominantly takes the form ofindirect speech, liberal direct speech (without the use of quotation marks),and topical reported speech (Smirnova, 2009: 82). Liberal structures presentthe viewpoint of the author, the journalist in this case, which results inmultiple alterations of the initial segment. My analysis of reported speech devices used in Saudi media revealssimilar patterns and implications to those found in the study.

 The use of reported speech in newspaperdiscourse is also discussed in Sclafani (2008). She examined languageideologies in the New York Timescoverage of the Oakland School Board controversy concerning Ebonics. She foundthat the newspaper foregrounds certain voices while suppressing others throughthe use of reported speech. Direct reported speech was used to distance theauthor from the opinions expressed in the quote while maintaining journalisticobjectivity towards these opinions. Indirect reported speech, on the otherhand, was used to “internalize” the quoted segment and blend the voice of theauthor with the external authority. Similar instances of the use of indirectreported speech is found in my data, where the state-run newspaper internalizesthe voice of the spokesman through indirect reported speech, which consequentlysuggests the newspaper’s endorsement of the reported segments. Alongthe lines of Sclafani’s study, my analysis aims to examine how certain voicesof authority are foregrounded while others are suppressed, and how reportedspeech plays into this ‘re-voicing’ dynamic.

Like Sclafani, my study will takean overarching Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) approach. Such approach allowsfor a comprehensive analysis of complex social phenomena by drawing uponspecific linguistic resources along contextual social examination. Mostimportantly, it accounts for language use as a “social practice” and considersdiscourse as “socially consequential” that “gives rise to important issues ofpower.” (Fairclough and Wodak, 1997: 258). The aim of CDA is to explore themanifestation of power and ideology in language and to “shed light on thediscursive aspects of societal disparities and inequalities.

” (Wodak and Meyer,2009: 32). This approach is conducive considering the hierarchical powerrelations in an absolute monarchy like Saudi Arabia, where power relationsdominate men and women, as well as the state and the media. Integratingreported speech within the notion of intertextuality in socio-political andmedia discourse studies is influenced by the premise that the functionalproperties of reported speech depend on the primary role of persuasion(Smirnova, 2009: 80). Media discourse derives its content primarily fromprevious discourse, spoken or written, and strategically orients it towards itstarget audience. As Gordon, Prince, Benkendorf & Hamilton (2002) state:”constructed dialogue can potentially be persuasive, shaping expectations andattitudes” (259).  In their study ofprenatal genetic counselor’s utilization of constructed dialogue, they foundpatterns in the form and content of constructed dialogue, where it functions toserve the clients’ positive face, provides evidence, and maintain valueneutrality. The use of constructed dialogue generally achieve solidarity andbuilds rapport between the counselor and the patient.

This type offunctionality is evidenced in my data, where the independent newspaper citeswomen activists in a way that appear to normalize the social issue and bring invoices from the other side of the debate. As will be evidence in my analysis,creating involvement, while persuading the reader with the news story, becomesone of the major objectives of public media. 

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