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Entitlement and sincerity in broadcast interviews about Princess Diana.

Myers, Greg (2000) Entitlement and sincerity in broadcast interviews about Princess Diana. Media Culture and Society, 22 (2). pp. 167-185. ISSN 0163-4437

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Abstract

Vox pop interviews were used extensively in British broadcast coverage of the death and funeral of Princess Diana. They were one of several ways that public expression of emotion was defined as an important part of the events of the week. Some commentators criticized this attention to the public response, rather than on new information and formal events, as an excessive and sentimental part of a loss of proper perspective. This criticism raises two issues in the relation of media events to everyday experience - entitlement of members of the public to feel overpowering emotion at the loss of someone they knew only through media, and the sincerity of expressions of emotion when ordinary people are faced with microphones and a camera. I argue here that such criticisms miss the ways interviewees packaged their responses with an awareness of just such criticisms. Interviewees showed entitlement by presenting themselves as speaking for ordinary people, linking their responses to the place and time, and tying their stories into their everyday activities or to historic events. They showed sincerity by presenting their feelings as atypical for them, by acknowledging apparent clichés, and by emphasizing Diana's own sincerity. Analysis of interviewees' reflexive sense of performance shows how `intimacy at a distance' can make public involvement a component of media events.

Item Type: Article
Journal or Publication Title: Media Culture and Society
Uncontrolled Keywords: broadcast talk ; • conversation analysis ; • life stories ; • media events ; • opinions ; • vox pops
Subjects: P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics
Departments: Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences > Linguistics & English Language
ID Code: 1384
Deposited By: Prof Greg Myers
Deposited On: 08 Feb 2008 09:22
Refereed?: Yes
Published?: Published
Last Modified: 18 Sep 2013 16:12
Identification Number:
URI: http://eprints.lancs.ac.uk/id/eprint/1384

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