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Multimedia News Storytelling as Digital Literacies

A Genre-Aware Approach to Online Journalism Education

Yang Song

New media has brought constant evolution to professional journalism practices and news genres. Online news practices challenge the occupational jurisdiction of journalism with a multiplicity of conflicting and competing journalistic ideals. In order to prepare journalism students to meet the demands of online journalism today, journalism schools have developed courses that emphasize journalistic practice on online news platforms and tools, such as Twitter,, Soundslides Plus, etc.

Drawing on the theoretical lens of digital literacies, Multimedia News Storytelling as Digital Literacies problematizes the emphasis on transmission of certain professional values and news formats without raising students’ critical awareness that there can be diversity of values. Methodologically, the present study proposes a genre-aware, semiotic-aware, critical framework that aims at analyzing digital literacies required and practiced by online journalists. It simultaneously encompasses dimensions of professional culture, professional practices, and abstraction of instantiated meaning making via multimodal semiotic resources.

Multimedia News Storytelling as Digital Literacies is ideal for courses in journalism and mass communication, curriculum studies, and digital literacies. The book is a valuable resource for online journalism educators, journalism students, and online journalism practitioners.

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Chapter 3. Theoretical Framework


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Rationale for the Selection of Theoretical Traditions

In order to examine the teaching and learning of online journalism, the present chapter proposes a digital-literacies-informed analytical model that draws on five pertinent theoretical traditions, including (1) critical discourse analysis, (2) genre analysis and genre pedagogy, (3) multimodal discourse analysis, (4) pedagogical theory of Community of Practice, and (5) curriculum theory of Outcome-based Education. The selection of these theoretical traditions is in line with the focus of the present study:

First, the present study is a study of online news production as a professional construction of social reality (Steensen, 2009). It draws on the theory of media logic and Fairclough’s model of Critical Discourse Analysis that focuses both on (1) the interdiscursivity (Fairclough, 1992, 1995) between genres, discourses and styles of the process of news production and (2) the dynamic shaping influence of an order of discourse on online journalism as enacted in the teaching, learning and assessment activities of the course.

Second, the present study is a study of news genres in the new media era and in educational contexts. It requires genre analysis and multimodal discourse analysis theories in order to describe, analyze, and classify the emergent genres and their variants in specific contexts of use; based on this description of the ← 71 | 72 → genres, the study draws on genre pedagogy to make recommendations about the teaching and learning of the online news genres...

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