Week seven

Workbook activities

Today Show – A shark, a duck and an awkward interview  (2011)

The Today Show on Channel 9, featuring hosts Karl Stefanovic and Lisa Wilkinson, is a breakfast television show which typically reports the news, weather, sport and interviews guests on various topics.

The video above intends to cover a story about a bull shark that is inhabiting Evandale Lake at the Gold Coast. Stefanovic gives the background of the story, which has a lighthearted side side to it, and goes on to introduce the reporter in the story, Paul Burt.  The two exchange comedic banter and personal humour, which is evident of Tolson’s argument that chat-based programming is oriented toward the personal, it features wit and humour (1991).  Additionally, the report is quite the opposite of what you would expect in a typical investigative journalism news story, which extracts, reveals and presents such news people try to conceal (Singh 2014). Burt then begins to report the facts of the story and what the council are doing to solve the issue with the bull shark. However, the news story takes an awkward turn when Burt mistakenly hooks a duck while casting his fishing line.  As expected, there is laughter and comedic comments but also a ‘damage control’ sense as the interview is cut short and returns to the news studio.  This is reflective of Tolson’s statement that the risk of transgression underlies talk (1991).

Being a television host is not just about performing and engaging with an audience, it requires a lot of skill and experience in the journalism field. To be a good host, you need to be an experienced media performer generally, and you need to be prepared and knowledgeable about what’s coming ahead in the program (Ames 2016). The video reflects this statement where the hosts took control of the controversial situation and kept continuing with the show. Successful hosts need to be able to think on their feet and have a quick wit to restore any mishaps or unexpected situations that may occur during, sometimes, live broadcasts.

 

Piece to camera

PTC video

This was a very uncomfortable activity for me to do.  I’m not a person who likes being the centre of attention and I really don’t have any aspirations to be a news journalist but it was helpful to learn another aspect of being a professional communicator.

I practiced quite a lot at what I was going to say, how I was going to say the report and my body movements.  It was my first time completing a PTC report so I’m hoping it has been received ok.

Oliver (2016) states that the piece to camera, or PTC is that part of the report where the reporter can be seen talking to the viewer about all sorts of things, hopefully relevant to the story. Whenever I have watched a  PTC report on television it’s usually about some dramatic event unfolding or which has just occurred.

In contrast, my PTC report was about the battle I have with my children with keeping their toys in their own living area.  I was thinking of going to another location to talk about something more interesting, however, toys are a familiar subject to me and my husband filmed this at night after my children had gone to bed. It was quiet and had good lighting so it seemed an ideal choice to do the PTC.

 

Clayman ‘From talk to text: newspaper accounts of reporter-source interactions’ summary (1990)

Clayman aims to determine what makes a questions quotable, and to specify the impact that quoted questions have on the sense and import of subsequent political speech.

For newswriters, any particular linguistic choice may be guided, not by ideological factors, but by more local concerns internal to the development of the narrative. Such choices are also analysed and interpreted by audience numbers in the light of their location within the surrounding discourse. It is well-established principle that the meaning of verbal, gestural and other communicative displays depends upon the contexts in which they are used.

Newspaper and television news stories regularly contain verbatim or paraphrased statements for a variety of sources and may are culled from interactional situations with interviews, press conferences, public speeches and congressional hearings being examples. In accounts of political speeches newspaper and television coverage frequently included some reference to audience responses to it. By preserving aspects of the local interactional context, a given statement is presented as an action produced within an ongoing course of social interaction. The assumpton that an adequate understanding of how texts are produced and responded to may remain elusive so long as the issue is pursued without making close comparative reference to how talk works.

During talk, interviews and press conferences, news reporters often quote sources with the answers and not the questions asked. Questions are unique in their power to define adjacent statements as actions produced in interaction with others; a variety of more specific meanings can this be conveyed as consequence. While quoted questions show that the general topic was imposed externally, the source’s statements may nevertheless be transparently self-interested in character.

Audiences can relate and interpret answers to questions on how they are conveyed.  Answers may come in the form of prompt or delayed, confirmatory or rejecting. For prompt or delayed answers, agreements are regularly produced directly and without delay, while disagreements tend to be delayed by various intervening items, including pauses preceding their delivery. With regards to confirmatory or rejecting, some questions, particularly of the yes/no variety, have propositions embedded within them, which the recipient is asked to confirm or reject. Confirmatory instances reveal the source may take the reporter’s version further by intensifying or upgrading it. In contrast, a rejected proposal can put forth assertions that the source must negate or rebut in order to develop his or her point.

Reporters’ questions also figure prominently in accounts of non-answers. Non-answers appear with great frequency in accounts of interviews and press conferences. In the context of a particular line of questioning, a non-answer can suggestive regarding the source’s motives for withholding information. News reporters may state that the source ‘refused’ or ‘declined’ to comment on the inquired-about matter without actually reproducing the declination as it was spoken.

Many quotation sequences examined show the source to be some way resisting a line of questioning. Declining to answer or rejecting what it proposes, or initially evading what it seeks, are common varieties of resistance. This may explain why presidential press conferences and other high-level briefings continue to be of such interest to reporters and audiences alike.

In contemporary political life, what people say is assessed and evaluated in the light of how they say it.

 

References

Ames, K 2016, COMM12033 speech and script term 1 2016, lesson 6: Genres of speech – corporate, CQUniversity, Brisbane.

Clayman, S 1990, ‘From talk to text: newspaper accounts of reporter-source interactions’, Media Culture & Society, vol. 12, pp. 79-103.

IWakeUpWithTODAY 2011, A shark, a duck and an awkward interview, Youtube, viewed 27 March 2016, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FzmAEQzZJ5Q.

Singh, S 2014, ‘International journal of multidisciplinary approach & studies’, An Analytical Study of Move from Traditional Journalism to Investigative Journalism, Vol. 1 Issue 4, p353-360.

Tolson, A 1991, ‘Televised chat and the synthetic personality’, in Broadcast Talk, ed P. Scannell, Sage Publications, London, pp. 178–200.

 

 

 

Week six

Workbook activities

 PAIBOC use for assignment 3

I will be employed as a media advisor for the state MP of the Mirani Electorate.

Purpose:  The purpose of the maiden speech is to acknowledge the audience and reassure them the MP’s commitment to representing the Electorate.  Fly-in fly out (FIFO) workforce and the proposed end to Early Childhood Development Programs (ECDPs) are the two main issues in central Queensland that will feature in the speech.

Audience: The audience will be fellow members, constituents and the media.

Information: The need for change on 100% FIFO workforce in central Queensland resource communities is relevant as it represents employment and prosperity in the small mining communities which have suffered over the last 5 years due to increased FIFO workforces. The federally introduced National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) has been a real concern in the central Queensland region and a lot of families don’t want it to replace the current ECDPs. ECDPs provide children, with disabilities and developmental delays, the essential skills and help prepare them for mainstream school.

Benefits:  The benefits of delivering a successful maiden speech will maintain the confidence of constituents and fellow members and, ultimately, retain the relevant member’s position.

Objections: Constituents will have their own opinions and beliefs on the issues that will be discussed. FIFO has pros ie. spreading the wealth and skills set within the state and cons employment and prosperity within central Queensland communities has dropped considerably.  I am anti-FIFO so I will defend any objections against that.  ECDPs provided by the state government are critical to a child’s development and should remain how they currently stand.

Context:  The beliefs held for the issues are political but also personal as they directly affect me and my family.

 

Differences and similarities of formal and informal speech

Knowing the difference and similarities of formal and informal speech is important as each has its own methods of preparation, content and delivery.

Performing a formal speech can quite daunting. The purpose of the formal speech is to inform, to persuade, to entertain, to stimulate action or further interest in a topic of community concern (2003).  Adequate preparation of a formal speech will see the orator feeling more confident about the subject, with a better chance of a successful outcome. I am currently working on a formal speech for the MP I work for. He intends to perform this speech in parliament so I will need ensure he is familiar with the subject and its purpose.

The content of formal and informal speeches are usually quite different. Formal speeches are given for a purpose and an outcome.  An MP may rise and take the floor to introduce an important issue that requires the government’s attention. The content of the speech would include background, facts and a solution to support the MP’s argument. Whereas an informal speech generally happens in conversation. In a corporate setting, all talk is potentially for an overhearing audience, so in a sense, while conversation may appear to be informal, it actually has the potential to have more formal consequences (Ames, 2016 pg.5).

The delivery of a formal speech must reflect its subject and genre . A presentation is a type of formal speech and must be delivered effectively to maintain the audience’s attention. By memorising the introduction, maintaining the audience’s eye contact and breathing deeply (Cipolla 2016), the orator will increase the chances of a successful presentation. An informal speech does require preparation and delivery but not in the same context as a formal speech. An informal speech is speech that may be impromptu, improvised, or deliberately casual or lighthearted (Ames 2016, p.4). An informal speech could be a phone call or a conversation between work colleagues. Both are casual speech but still need to be thought out to ensure communication lines are clear.

Reflection of week 6 voice recording

This week my voice sounds quite ‘whispery’ in place. I’ve had a cold the past couple of weeks so this may be the cause. I still need to slow down and breath more to ensure I’m understood clearly. I also need to speak louder and deeper to get my point across more confidently.

References

Ames, K 2016, COMM12033 speech and script term 1 2016, lesson 6: Genres of speech – corporate, CQUniversity, Brisbane.

University of Illinois 2003, Communications Guide, viewed 24 April 2016, https://web.extension.illinois.edu/jsw/downloads/27058.pdf.

Cipolla, R 2016, How to prepare and deliver a presentation, viewed 24 April 2016, http://mi.eng.cam.ac.uk/~cipolla/archive/Presentations/MakingPresentations.pdf

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Week five

Workbook activities

Notice talk

When it comes to talk, I am aware of how to speak on social terms and on professional terms.  I have a lot of work experience and find it easy distinguish when it’s appropriate to use social talk or institutional talk.  I have also found that, with experience, I can easily judge a person’s personality or how a conversation will flow by taking note of their talk skills early in a meeting.

In a work environment, I always greet people and ask how they are.  It’s not only polite but creates a professional atmosphere. I work for a state MP and engage with the public on a daily basis. The conversation would go as follows:

Constituent: Hello, I’m John Smith.

Me: Hi John, how are you?

Constituent: Yeah I’m alright

Me: That’s good. How can I help you today?

To sign off from another conversation, I would say:

Me: That’s great. Thanks for your help today.

Parliament contact: That’s ok.

Me: Bye and have a good weekend.

When dealing with awkward or uncomfortable moments, I find asking a question rather than using humour helps the conversation get back on track. In a professional environment, I often ask how they’re day has been or if they have a busy week coming up.  I find using humour more appropriate if I’m familiar with a person and they’re personality.

I find it important to use institutional talk when appropriate. Any form of casual talk, swearing or gossip in a professional setting (work, appointments, ceremonies) is inappropriate. However, institutional talk can occur anywhere, and by the same token, ordinary conversation can emerge in in almost any institutional context (Heritage, 2005). It’s all about knowing that right moment and situation.

 

Consider institutional talk in detail

Political interview – Laurie Oakes and John Howard 2011 -John https://pmtranscripts.dpmc.gov.au/release/transcript-11771

Entertainment interview – Richard Wilkins and Ed Sheeran

a. How was the interviewee introduced?

Oakes interview:  Very formal introduction. Oakes: Mr Howard, welcome to Sunday.

Wilkins interview: Very casual introduction. Wilkins: Ed Sheeran how are you doing?

b. What types of questions were asked?

Oakes interview:  Politically orientated questions. Example: Now how surprised were you by the West Australian result?

Wilkins interview: Questions about his short but successful career. Example: You couldn’t have wished for a better kick start to your career, could you?

c. How was the potential for conflict managed (if any)?

Oakes interview: Oakes actually pushes for confrontation and reaction in the interview with Howard. Example: You mention Peter Beattie, the polls suggest that the Queensland election next Saturday will bring more bad news for the Coalition. Have you steeled yourself for that?

Wilkins interview:

d. Was humour evident, and how?

Oakes interview: No humor evident, very serious.

Wilkins interview: There was a lot of humour about his career and personal life. It was also quite awkward in parts on Wilkins’ behalf.

e. How did the interview conclude?

Oakes interview: Interview ends abruptly and formally. Example: Prime Minister, we’re out of time. We thank you.

Wilkins interview: Mate, what a lovely guy you are. It was lovely to chat to you.

f. What were the differences, if any, between the types of interview?

There were no casual talk and friendly banter in the Oakes interview. It was all institutional talk the whole way through the interview. Whereas, the Wilkins interview was very casual, was structured like he and Sheeran were friends and had quite a lot of humor.

 

Interaction en Masse: Audiences and Speeches

Identifying the key point for speech writing

Performing an effective speech and successfully engaging with their audience are the main goals of an orator.  The political orator relies on the response of their audience to gauge the effectiveness of the speech and, ultimately, their popularity.

Writing an effective speech is structured with coordination and format. By using rhetorical language of incorporating contrasts and lists in a speech, the audience can easily identify the key points of the politician’s  argument or statement.  Generating applause using a three stage rocket is also an effective method of speech writing as it uses predictable persuasion to gain a positive response from an audience.

With contrasts,  in its most basic form, a negative statement is counterbalanced by a positive one (Hertiage and Clayman 2010 p.267). Contrasts are used by politicians to establish a negative point (often at the expense of an opponent) and then a positive point to boast their own side of the argument.  Heritage and Clayman (2010) mention contradictions, comparisons, opposites and phrase reversals are all common types of contrasting which are used for effective speeches. In an example, John F. Kennedy used phase reversal in a now infamous speech: “Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country”.  It was a patriotic and grounding statement that the audience reacted well to.

Lists are effective in speeches as they emphasis and project the intended message to the audience in a simple format.  Heritage and Clayman (2010) suggest that three-part lists are also frequent in speeches, where they combine emphasis (by repetition) and the projectability that arises from the norm of response on the third item.  An accurate example of a three-part list is performed by former British Prim Minister Margaret Thatcher: “At a time of growing danger for all who cherish and believe in freedom this party of the soft centre is (1) no shield, (2) no refuge and (3) no answer (Hertiage and Clayman 2010 p.270). Thatcher’s statement was effective as it accentuated the incompetence of the opposition and the audience reacted well to it.

A combination of contrasts and lists is also a popular and effective format to gain a positive reaction from an audience.  Heritage and Clayman (2010) claim that the combination of contrasts and lists may help to shed light on the significance of the number three in lists of all sorts. As an example, many children’s stories use a three part list/contrast format, ie. Goldilocks and the Three Bears.  With politcial speeches, where combination formats were used, applause was fives more likely than speeches with  unformatted political claims (Hertiage and Clayman 2010 p.273) .

Another format Heritage and Clayman (2010) discusses it how to generate applause using a the three stage rocket. Politicians can use this format to effectively steer the audience the to applause by way of predictable persuasion. First there is the argument structure in which positions are staked out – often against those of opponents. Second, and within that structure, there is a level at which particular points are made and are rhetorically structured to build towards a specific slot. Finally, there is a micro-structural level of intonation, rhythm, timing, and gesture which guides the audience towards an exact opening in the talk where response can be initiated. Great speakers link all three of these levels into a seamless structure of argumentation (Hertiage and Clayman 2010 p.275) .

 

References

Heritage, J 2005, Conversation Analysis and Institutional Talk, University of California, Los Angeles, viewed 3 April 2016,  http://www.sscnet.ucla.edu/soc/faculty/heritage/Site/Publications_files/CA%20and%20INSTITUTIONAL%20TALK_LSI.pdf.

Heritage, J and Clayman, S 2010 Talk in Action: Interactions, Identities, and Institutions, Wiley- Blackwell, West Sussex, pp. 263-287.

PM Transcripts 2001, Interview on Sunday programme with Laurie Oakes, network nine ,’PM ranscripts: transcripts from the prime ministers of Australia’, viewed 5 April 2016, https://pmtranscripts.dpmc.gov.au/release/transcript-11771.

Today 2014, Richard Wilkins interviews Ed Sheeran, ‘YouTube’, viewed 5 April 2016, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WUQkJ8TgGIs.

 

 

 

 

Week four

Workbook activities

Re-recording of news script

Reflection of news recording

My second recording of the SBS News script has improved.  This week, I practiced and recorded my script a few times to get the technical aspects of my speech correct. Articulation is one of the important aspects I wanted to work on.  Ames (2016) explains that clarity is all important and derives from clear enunciation of the sounds that comprise words. By practicing, breathing and opening my mouth more I found my pronunciation has improved since my first recording. Another aspect I wanted to work on was volume and projection.  Volume is easy; you can speak more loudly or more softly. Projection needs training; it is the control of breathing to “cast” your voice (Ames 2016 p. 4). I did some breathing and counting exercises that aims to improve projection and I found my voice could be heard better.

I still find I need to breath more and lower my voice but this recording is an improvement on week one’s recording.

Movie – In a World

The main character, Carol, plays a freelance voice-over coach struggling to gain work. With regards to performance, during recordings I noticed that Carol gets ‘in the zone’ and becomes calm and focused. Ames (2016) explains that clarity is all important and derives from clear enunciation of the sounds that comprise words.  Carol demonstrates her articulation well as she begins by lowering her voice and says her speech slowly and with intent. I noticed the other characters also were quite expressive with their faces and hand movements. Even though it is voice over and their movements can’t be seen in the movie trailer, the enthusiasm or drama can be felt through their voice. Carol was often recording foreigners speech so their accents could be used for a later purpose.  This method showed the importance of technique.  Using a foreign accent can be difficult but for Carol to master the dialect, she needed to practice the vowels.

Techniques to alter the voice is important in speech training to ensure a successful performance. Cottrell (2015) states that  vocal mechanism mostly consists of muscles, and while there may be some natural variation in size and shape from one person to another, these vocal muscles can be developed.  In preparation for voice-overs, the characters warmed up their muscles with lip blowing, exaggerated sounds, opening the mouth and relaxing their faces. At one point, Carol also had an actress place a cork in her mouth to assist with vowel and accent pronunciation.

All the techniques mentioned above have a positive impact on the result of the character’s speech performance. The exercises performed before a voice-over relax the voice and prepare the larynx for a better sound.  According to Carol (2013), a good voice has perfect tone and a strong sound.  By exercising and practicing voice techniques, the outcome a is stronger and more confident performance.

 

References

Ames, K 2016, ‘Lesson 4 – Performance,’ COMM12033 Speech and Script, CQUniversity, Brisbane, viewed 31 March 2016,  https://moodle.cqu.edu.au/pluginfile.php/293232/mod_resource/content/6/COMM12033_Week4_Mod.pdf.

Cottrell, D 2015, ‘On the voice’, Choral Journal, Vol 56, No.3, p. 73.

In a World 2013, motion picture, Stage 6 Films, Distributed roadside Attractions, and starring Lake Bell.