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ColleenMcCarty

TitlesasMacrothemesinPrintandOnlineNewsSources

ABSTRACT:Thepaperanalyzestitlesinprintandonline
sourcesinordertodetermineiftheycanbeseenashyperor
macrothemesofthesubsequentarticles,orif,conversely,they
serveasarhetoricaldevicetoattractthereadersattention.
Factorsdiscussedincludethematic,cohesion,andrhetorical
analysis.Thedatashowthattitlesinbothprintandonline
sourcescanbeseenasboththemesanddevices.

Introduction

CharlizeTheronNSFW.SoreadsthearticletitleofGeorgeHeelyintelevisionssatire
Portlandia
.TheskitbeginswithHeelyofthePortlandTribuneinforminghisstaffthatthepaper
hasbeensoldtoanonlineblog,LinxPDX.Whentheyoungbossestakeover,thefocuson
hardhitting,localjournalismturnstoweneedtoenticethemwhataboutTopTenShaved
Heads?Thenewbossesclaimthatarticleslikethesemakeforeasilydigested,andtherefore
highlytrafficked,articles.Thistitleappealstoaudienceswithitscautionarydeclaration
NSFW,meaningnotsafeforwork,whichnormallysuggestsinappropriatepicturesand/or
language.GeorgeHeelylamentsthefactthathehasgonefromjournalisttolinkalistbecause
peoplearentreadingarticlesanymore,andhetriestoconvincehimselfthatsellingoutfor70
milliononlinehitsisthefuture.
Theskitsatirizestheconditionsofandattitudestowardsjournalismandarticlesinsociety
today.TherootoftheseisundoubtedlytheadventoftheInternet,andwithforwardprogresson
thepartofonlinearticlescomesthebackslideoftraditionalprintnews.Itistruethattherecent
recessionhadanimpactonemploymentinthejournalismandprintnewsindustries.
According
tothedatastudiedbyLinkedIn,theprofessionalsocialnetwork,thenewspaperindustry
experienceda28.4percentshrinkageratebetween2007and2011Butcontrastnewspapers

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hugedropwiththegainexperiencedinthesecondfastestgrowingindustry,accordingtothe
sameLinkedIndata:onlinepublishing.Newmediacompaniesposteda24.3percentgain,
cominginonlybehindtheInternetoverall

(Smalera).
Alsointerestingtonoteisthefactthat
forAmericanadultsunder30,socialmediahasfarsurpassednewspapersandhasequaledTVas
aprimarysourceofdailynews
,
accordingtoastudyofnewsconsumptiontrendsbythePew
ResearchCenterforthePeople&ThePress.
Anyoneonlinetodayfacesabarrageoflinks,
products,andwebsitesbeggingforattentionthetitleisthefirstthingthatanindividualreads,so
inordertogarnerthemostclicks,hits,orlikes,thetitlesthemselvesmustcompeteforthe
interestofthereader.
Thispaperwillexaminetheroleoftitlesinbothprintandonlinenewssources.Titles
generallygivereaderssomeindicationofthetopicofthearticleforthisreason,titlescouldbe
seenashyperormacrothemes.Investigationwillrevealifthishypothesisistrue,orif,
conversely,titlesaredesignedtoattractreadersmorethantoprovidetopicallyrelevant
information.Inordertoexploretheseideas,newspaperandonlinearticleswillbeanalyzed
thematically,withspecialattentionpaidtohowthetitlesofthearticlesrelatetothebodiesof
text.Cohesionanalysiswillbeusedintandem,asitwillbeusefulinillustratingtherelationship
betweenthetitleandthetext,andwithinthetextitself.

Analysis
ThefirstarticletobeexaminedappearedintheApril2014editionof
TheMiamiStudent
.
EquestrianteamsridetoupcomingNationalsbyAmandaHancockwaschosenbecauseasthe
editionscoverstory,ithasthemostimportanttitleintermsofattractingapotentialreaders

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attention.Apartfromthenameofthenewspaper,thetitlestextisthelargestonthepage.Thisis
consistentwithothereditionsofthepaper,anditispossiblethatthisisastylisticchoice
employedspecificallytoaddressthissituation.
Inordertodeterminetherelationshipbetweenthetitleofthearticleandthecontextofthe
article,acohesionanalysiswasconducted.Thisinvolvedlocatingpronounsandconjunctions,
interclausalandintersectionalcohesiverelationships,endophoricrelationships,andmanifestand
implicitintertextuality.
Thepronounsinthearticlereflectinclusivelanguage,whichistosaythatpronounssuch
aswe,us,andourareusedextensively.Thearticleemploysinitialinterclausal
relationships,whichbecomeintersectionalrelationshipsthesebuildononeanotherthroughout
thearticle,meaningthatthereaderhastoremembertheseveralnamesthatarementionedin
ordertomakethemostsenseofthetext.Endophoricrelationships,specificallyanaphoricand
catophoric,areincludedinalmosteveryparagraphofthearticletheresultofthisisthatthe
readermustpaycloseattentioninordertodeterminetherelationshipbetweenthewordsineach
sentence.Severalinterviewswereconductedintheproductionofthisarticle,andtheauthor
includesthisinformationintheformofquotations,atypeofmanifestintertextuality.Quotations
providevaliditytothearticle,andalsoaffordimportantmemberswiththeopportunitytospeak
abouttheirowndomain.Inthiscase,theintervieweeswereLoriCramer,seniordirectorofthe
EquestrianCenterDaniellePaulson,fourthyearstudentandpresidentoftheMiamiUniversity
EquestrianTeamandHeatherPinnick,theteamsheadcoach.Implicitintertextualityoccurs
infrequentlywithinthearticle,butthereisanobviousinclusioninthetitlewiththetermrides
inreferencetotheequestrianteam.Anotherimportantfactortonoteisthatthearticlefeaturesan

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imageofarideronahorseanoteattheendofthearticleattributestheillustrationtoKyle
Hayden.ItdoesnotappeartobeaMiamiUniversityrider,buttheimageisthematicallyrelevant
tothearticle.Itispossiblethattheimagewasincludedasavisualtoolinordertoprovidemore
interestforthearticlespotentialreadersattimes,imagescanbejustasimportantaswords,
especiallyinappealingtoadiverseaudience.Anotherpossiblereasonisthatitexplainstheword
equestrianinthetitle,incasereadersarenotfamiliarwiththeword.Oncetheconnectionis
made,thatsectionoftheaudiencewillbeabletounderstandthereasoningbehindchoosingthe
wordride.
Theanalysisidentifiedseveralimportantchainswithrespecttothetitleonecohesion
chainisasfollows:equestrianteam(occursinthetitle)MiamiUniversityEquestrianTeam
theyteampartnershipteamMiamisEquestrianteamequestrianteamteamgroup
ridersMiamiteammembersteamweusstudentstheypeoplegroup
teammatesweteam.Thisisanexampleofasimilaritychain,becauseallofthereferencesare
totheMiamiUniversityEquestrianTeam,andmanyofthereferentscouldbechangedto
MiamiUniversityEquestrianTeamwithoutlossofmeaning.Thereforeitcouldbesaidthat
eachinstanceofthewordteamisareducedrelativeclause,becauseitisinreferencetoa
specificteam.However,differentwordsareusedtogivethearticlevarietyandtexture.Atthe
sametime,thenounsselectedgiveagoodindicationofthetoneofthearticle,intermsof
inclusivelanguageandgroupidentity.Anotherlexicalchainisthefollowing:Nationals(occurs
inthetitle)Nationalsshowsseasoncompetitionnationalstagenationallyregionals
IntercollegiateHorseShowAssociation(IHSA)NationalsIntercollegiateDressage
AssociationIHSANationalscompetingnationalrecognitionNationalsseason

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Nationals.Thesewordsarerelatedbecausetheyallhavetodowiththenationalcompetitionthat
thetitleintroduces.Allhavetodowithcompetition,thoughsomearemorespecificthanothers.
ThesecondarticletobeexaminedcomesfromTheHuffingtonPost,anonlinenews
sourceandaggregator.ChrisLawhornsarticle,titledTheTop10WorkoutSongsforApril
2014,waschosenbecauseitisrepresentativeofsimilarTopTenliststhatarepopularon
Internetweblogs.Inordertodeterminetherelationshipbetweenthetitleofthearticleandthe
contextofthearticle,acohesionanalysiswasconducted.Thisinvolvedlocatingpronounsand
conjunctions,intertextuality,andotherfactorsparticulartothisarticle.
Onceagain,thetitleisveryprominentonthepage.However,itisnotvisibleonthe
screenwhenthewebpageisfirstaccessedabovearethenewspapertitle,thenewspapers
sections,severalothersuggestedarticles,andadvertisements.Directlyunderthetitleandauthor
informationisapictureofseveralpeoplerunningonwhatappearstobearoadortrack.The
pictureshowsonlylegs,butitseemsthatalltherunnersarefemale.Additionally,themost
dominantcolorsinthepictureareblackandpink.Thiswouldseemtosuggestthatthisarticles
intendedaudienceisfemale.However,thissentimentisnotreflectedinthearticlethismeans
thattheimageisrelevant,butexclusive.Analternate,moreinclusivepicturecouldhavebeen
usedtoincreaseefficacyandreaderrapport.
Thepronounsusedarepredominantlysecondperson,meaningthatthearticleisatypeof
address.Thisisreinforcedbytheimperativethemes,asinthesentence,
Dontwaste
another
moment:
get
sometunes,
get
yourshoes,and
get
moving.Thisformofpronounusealsomakes
foramorepersonalandinformaltone.Intertextualityplaysalargeroleinthisarticle.Firstisthe
ideaoftoptenitselflistsexistineverydaylife,andLintonWeeksgivessomereasonsinhis

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article10ReasonsWhyWeLoveMakingLists.Includedarethefactsthatlistsbringorderto
chaos,andthatlistsarefinite.However,toptenlistsinparticularallowforlargeamountsof
informationtobereducedintoapracticalrepresentationofthetopic.Forexample,toplistsare
commonlyusedtotrackthepopularityofsongsonmusiccharts,andsohereentersthe
intertextuality.Furthermore,thearticlelistsnamesofsomeoftheartistsincludedonthelist.
Thesenamesareexamplesofintertextualitybecausetheirfamiliaritydependsonculture,which
istosaythecommonbackgroundandexperiencesofthereader.Forexample,itisimpossibleto
understandFosterthePeoplechannelingDavidBowieifthereaderisunfamiliarwiththework
ofDavidBowie.Anotherexampleofintertextualityisinthelistitself,whichincludesthesongs
BPM,orbeatsperminute.Withoutunderstandingtheabbreviation,thenumberswouldbe
meaninglessandwithoutunderstandingthatahighBPMrateistypicalofhighenergysongs,
thereaderwouldbeunabletounderstandwhyahighBPMwouldappearonaworkoutplaylist.
Afinalexampleofintertextualityappearsintheauthorschoiceofvocabularywords.A
lexicalchainofthisslangcouldbedescribedasfollows:jamclubbangerkudosremix.
Thiscontributestotheconversational,informaltoneofthearticle.Anotherchainpresentsthe
titlesconnectiontothearticle:songs(occursintitle)tracksplaylistjambangertrack
songtunes.Thislexicalchaindemonstratesusageofsynonymyaswellascohesion.
Onefactorspecifictoonlinearticlesistheinclusion,attheend,oflinkstorelated
articles,websites,orsocialmediaaccounts.Thisarticleisnoexceptionattheendtheauthor
includesalinktohisownwebsite,alinktomorearticlesbythesameauthor,alinktomore
articlesaboutworkouts,andaTwitteraddress.Thisprovidesthereaderwithoptionstocontinue
readingaboutthesametopic.

Evaluation
Titlesstandalonewithoutexplanationordefinitiontheydependonareaderrecognizing
whatisnecessarytoidentifythecontentofthearticle.Inotherwords,titlespresupposeageneral
knowledgeandrelyonthatknowledgetocapturethereadersattention.Thisgeneralknowledge
canbebroadorveryspecific,anditdependsoncultureasasharedbackgroundasmuchasit
dependsontheintendedaudience.Therhetoricalstrategyemployedincreatingtitlesdependson
thesamefactorsjournalistsrelyonthatstockofculturalknowledgewithitsspecific
representationsandmodelsofreality.Thejournalistmustassumetheknowledgetobe
widespreadifthetitlesaretohavemeaning,butsuccessfuldecodingofthemeaningprovesthat
thereaderisaninsiderforbeingabletounderstandareference.Thishelpscreateandmaintain
asenseofsharedcommunicationandcollectiveidentity,effectivelyreflectingandrecreating
culturethoughlanguage.
As
TheMiamiStudent
stargetaudienceincludesstudents,faculty,andstaffatMiami
University,itisassumedthatthecontentwillbeveryspecifictoMiamicommunitymembers
andtheirexperiences.However,thiscouldbeappliedtoanyothersmall,localcommunitypaper.
Incontrast,onlinearticleshaveamuchlargerscopeandreachamuchlargeraudience.Interms
ofintertextuality,thismeansthat
TheMiamiStudent
canassumemoreaboutthereaderandthe
readersbackgroundknowledge,andthestudentjournalistscanusethistotheiradvantagein
ordertoconnectwiththeaudienceandestablisharapport.Asfortheonlinenewssources,
journalistshavetorelyonamoregeneral,assumed(cultural)knowledgetoestablishthesame
rapportwiththeirreaders.Andwhilesomeindividualsmayfollowspecificjournalists,theonline

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newsjournalistsasindividualsarecontinuouslytryingtobroadentheirreadershipbase.
The
MiamiStudent
hasareadershipbase,butpeoplewhodonotnormallyreadthestudentnewspaper
maybedrawninbyanattractivetitle.Thetitlemustcapturetheindividualsattentionwhilehe
orsheisnotnecessarilylookingforsomethingtoread.Conversely,anonlinearticlewillalready
havepartofthereadersattention,asthereaderisalreadylookingatascreenand/orsearching
forsomethingmorespecific.Theonlinearticlestitlemustthereforecapturethereaders
attentionbycompetingwithothertitles,butnotnecessarilybycompetingwithotheractivitiesor
thoughts.

Conclusion
Aneffectivetitleprovidesbothinformationandincentiveitdeliverskeycontextual
information,suchasthetopicofthearticleand/ortheentitiesinvolved,butitalsoconveys
culturallyrelevantinformationthroughtheuseofreferencesandallusion.Fromtheinformation
analyzed,itcanbeconcludedthattitlesservetoattractattentionaswellastogivesome
indicationofthecontentofthefollowingarticle.Forthisreason,titlescanbeseenashyperor
macrothemesthatprovidetopicallyrelevantinformation,butalsoastoolsdesignedtoattract
readers.
Inordertofurtherthistopic,agreaterstudycouldbeconductedthatwouldinclude
analysesoftitlesandarticlesfromagreatervarietyofsources.Additionally,otherfieldsof
study,suchaspsychology,anthropology,sociologyandpedagogy,canoffermorediverse
analysesthroughdifferentlens.Thistopicisanimportantonebecauseithasglobalimplications
eachculturehasadistinctsharedknowledgetoinvestigate.Furthermore,inordertolearnother

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languages,itisnecessarytounderstandthecorrespondingcultures.Newspapersoffera
perspectiveofmodernculture,andthereforeareavaluabletoolinlanguagelearningandin
culturalappreciation.

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WorksCited

Flowerdew,John.
DiscourseInEnglishLanguageEducation
.Abingdon,Oxon:Routledge,
2013.Print.

Hancock,Amanda.EquestrianteamsridetoupcomingNationals.
TheMiamiStudent
.Vol.141
No.45.April11,2014.Print.

Lawhorn,Chris.TheTop10WorkoutSongsofApril2014.
TheHuffingtonPost
.
TheHuffingtonPost.com,06Apr.2014.Web.

James,Leon."MeasuringThePsychologicalCharacteristicsOfTitlesOfJournalArticlesAnd
TheirSubjectHeadings."
DESIDOCJournalOfLibrary&InformationTechnology
34.6
(2014):491498.
Library,InformationScience&TechnologyAbstractswithFullText
.
Web.

OfftheGrid.
Portlandia:Season3.
Dir.JonathanKrisel.Prod.AndrewSinger,Lorne
Michaels,andDavidAllenCress.IFCOriginalProductions,2013.Television.

Smalera,Paul.Therecessionkilledjournalismandsavedit.Reuters.com.April2,2012.Web.

Weeks,Linton."10ReasonsWhyWeLoveMakingLists."
NPR
.24Feb.2009.Web.