Week 7: Genres of Speech – Media


While not as common as they use to be, chat-based entertainment programs are still popular among other genres of talk shows on television today (Ames 2016). The talk on these shows, such as Sunrise and the TODAY show, involve less institutional talk and more off-the cuff banter (Ames 2016). The shows are held in high regards by their audience and this relates to the features of the genre that shape the way conversation is carried out. It is argued that features such as wit and humour, the interests of the audience and the risk of transgression that exists amidst open discussion are apparent in all talk shows of this genre (Ames 2016).

In an interview on The TODAY Show with guests Hamish and Andy, wit and humour are evident above all, throughout the segment. Yet, transgression was not. However, when watching other segments from this show, there have been moments whereby transgression was evident within the conversation, creating potential for conflict.

Humour and wit prevails throughout the interview as Hamish and Andy carry out what could be considered as a skit in response to the questions they are asked. Wit is evident in that Hamish’s responses have been planned along with his actions and character. It is obvious that the segment is not taken too seriously as Hamish and Andy joke with the hosts.

‘Anyway, now that we’re here with the TODAY microphone, let’s do the weather. Alright, Canberra, fifty…’

Through this humour, it is not difficult to see why people become so captivated by these shows.  In fact, organisations can substantially benefit from provoking laughter among their audience (Beard 2014). This is because laughter boosts engagement and overcomes boredom which is the main factor that leads people to watch these shows in the first place (Beard 2014). Humour is also subjective which is why wit is also a necessary component. Not everyone responds to content the same way and what some find funny, others do not. This is why talk show hosts such as Lisa Wilkinson and Karl Stefanovic on the TODAY show must come up with inventive ways to deliver content so it is received in a similar sense by most, if not all parts of the audience. The hosts are responsible for constructing segments such as this one to fit seamlessly into the show (Ames 2016). It is the hosts’ duty to compile the right personalities with the precise content that will be received as desired, by the audience (Ames 2016). This has been achieved here. Hence, while it appears as though the guests are responsible for producing the humour, it was the hosts who initiated provided thee framework for this. The type of questions the hosts have asked have allowed for a comedic response which the audience can enjoy. Therefore, as talk show host working within this genre, it is the consideration given to context as demonstrated here that will shape how effectively content is received by the audience.


According to BBC’s David Shukman (2016), pieces to camera (PTC) apply impact and context while also adding immediacy and authority to a report. A piece to camera serves to not only tell, but also show the audience what his happening ‘right here’ and ‘right now’ (BBC 2016).

The style of this piece to camera is a ‘broadcast news PTC’ which is carried out with little to no preparation (Ames 2016). Throughout this PTC, I ensured that I maintained eye contact with the camera and remain in the same position. Talking directly into the camera establishes authority of the speaker (Ames 2016) and directs the audience’s attention (BBC 2016). When indicating to the audience what was happening beside me, I titled my head to the left while keeping eye contact with the camera. This was to shift the audience’s attention to the calves. I positioned myself close enough to the camera to ensure that the sound was clear and far enough away to ensure that the details of the setting were included in the shot. I did not use any props as the setting already included all of the visual information that the audience required. I kept my hands behind my back throughout the recording to avoid making awkward or unnecessary hand gestures that could shift the viewers’ attention.

This task was not achieved easily or quickly. It took at least twenty attempts at recording this piece to camera before achieving a video that met my expectations. I am definitely not a natural news reader and there is a lot of room for improvement in this PTC.


Anyone who has a Facebook account and follows any news or entertainment groups are likely to have clicked into a story that did not turn out to be what it seemed. Journalists can take quotes that are vague in meaning straight from a source and present it to an audience in a way that does not pay tribute to the content’s purpose. In the same way, interviewees such as politicians are judged on their ‘interactional conduct’ (Clayman 1990, p.80) rather than their actual views and policies. This is one of many key points Clayman delivers in the article From talk to text: newspaper accounts of reporter source interactions.

Clayman (1990, p.80) highlights that newspaper writers pay less detail to ideological factors and are more involved in creating coherent narratives. As a result, attention to how the audience receive the material is ‘sidestepped’ and writers focus more on linguistic units than units relevant to their contexts (Clayman 1990, p.81). Clayman (1990, p.82) goes into further detail regarding the use of quotation and discusses the ‘structure of interactionally generated source quotations’ making the following points.

  • Both newspaper and television stories commonly contain ‘verbatim’ which is precise wording, or paraphrased statements that are shared among a variety of sources (Clayman 1990, p.82). In these reports, the information is most commonly presented in two ways. On one hand, single statements are quoted in isolation from the context in which they were produced (Claymman, 1990). On the other hand and less commonly, the quote is presented in accompany with the question or information that either elicited or followed it (Clayman 1990). The second method would be more accurate and morally acceptable when reporting news or a maiden speech in particular. In the case that the quote is supported by the writer’s narrative, the first method would also be appropriate.
  • Just as ‘interactional moves’ are understood when a conversation occurs face-to-face, a reporter should construct written talk in a way that still demonstrates this information to the audience (Clayman 1990, p.83). Therefore, when reporting through the use of quotes, the writer should include descriptions of source’s conduct to allow the audience to put the information in context.
  • Interviewees are ‘formally restricted’ to answering reporter’s questions (Claymman 1990, p.85). Although, public figures of greater recognition such as politicians and spokespersons are often provided leeway to introduce unsolicited material to the conversation (Clayman 1990).
  • Quotes given voluntarily from a source, such as an initial statement can impact how the audience receives the information when in isolation.
  • Questions can be used to show an external purpose for the source’s statement. This changes the way the source is received, to reflect the sources own interests and intention (Clayman 1990).
  • By characterising a source’s quote it can change the way the source’s intentions are exhibited (Clayman 1990). For instance, changing ‘said’ for terms such as ‘conceded’ or ‘declared’ changes how the audience will receive the quote and lead them to make additional judgements about the person’s character.
  • Quoted questions work to make statements appear as answers, rather than isolated information (Clayman 1990).
  • Resisting speaking at all can lead to causing bigger implications about the source (Clayman 1990).



Ames, K 2016, COMM12033, Speech & Script: Genres of Speech – Media, CQU, Rockhampton, accessed 25 April 2016, https://moodle.cqu.edu.au/pluginfile.php/293241/mod_resource/content/3/COMM12033_Week7_Mod.pdf

BBC, 2016, Pieces to camera: David Shukman, accessed 25 April 2016, http://www.bbc.co.uk/academy/journalism/article/art20130702112133474

Beard, A, Harvard Business Review, Leading with Humor, accessed 25 April 2016, https://hbr.org/2014/05/leading-with-humor

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


One thought on “Week 7: Genres of Speech – Media

  1. Kate Ames

    Oh LOL Claire :). The well-timed moo in your PTC was perfect! Well done – you kept straight face which was AWESOME (and I learned a bit about cows with the weaning ring comment…I’m a horse girl).


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