Hybridity in broadcast political news interviews
Previous research on hybridity in broadcast political news interviews (Ekstrom 2011, Hutchby 2011a, 2011b) has indicated that hybridity refers to the mix of activities, the systematic shifting between speech exchange systems otherwise associated with non-interview settings, namely ordinary conversation. While for both Hutchby and Ekström the mix of discourse roles and different (frames) of activities is used in the (hybrid) news interview as an adversarial resource, the discursive positions occupied by the interviewer and the resulting genre in the respective datasets examined is slightly different.
In Hutchby’s dataset, the use of unmitigated direct and personalised argumentative techniques by interviewers, frequent in mundane argument rather than in hard news interview, (Hutchby 2014) positions the journalist as a socio-political advocate and marks the interviews analysed as being on the verge between an interview and an argument. In Ekström’s case study, hybrid frames of activities (i.e humorous and serious political frames) used by the interviewer and the interviewee alike, resulted in the creation of an interview genre that is on the verge between a friendly conversation (the ‘feel good genre’ of talk shows, in Clayman and Heritage’s 2002 terms) and the ‘high profile’ accountability interview (Montgomery 2007).
In my dataset, hybrid forms of talk used by both participants seem to merge the definitions offered by Hutchby and Ekström in relation to the discursive roles occupied by the participants and the resulting genre. In particular, the mixture of ordinary conversation techniques (i.e direct and personalised argumentative techniques, laughter) and institutional frames (i.e metadiscursive talk bringing the interview back to its normative format or challenging it) by interviewers and interviewees alike, seems both to sustain the established roles/discourse positions of the participants by re-inventing them, and at the same time results in the creation of an interview genre that is on the verge between an argument and the ‘high profile’ accountability interview. In this (hybrid) interview genre the focus shifts from the content to the performative aspect of the interviews. Is this a new genre or just the modification of an existing one?
Clayman, S. E. and Heritage J. (2002) The News Interview: Journalists and Public Figures on the Air, Cambridge: CUP
Ekström, M. (2011) Hybridity as a resource and challenge in a talk show political interview. In M. Ekström, M. Patrona (eds) Talking Politics in Broadcast Media: Cross Cultural Perspectives on Political Interviewing, Journalism and Accountability.Amsterdam: Benjamins, pp.135-155
Hutchby, I. (2011a) Doing non-neutral: Belligerent interaction in the hybrid political interview. In M. Ekström, M. Patrona (eds) Talking Politics in Broadcast Media: Cross Cultural Perspectives on Political Interviewing, Journalism and Accountability. Amsterdam: Benjamins pp.115-133
Hutchby, I. (2011b) Non-neutrality and argument in the hybrid political interview, Discourse Studies 13(3):349-365
Hutchby, I. (2014) Tribunership: Adversarial and Hybrid Political Interviews. Plenary Paper presented at the Hybridity and the News: Hybrid forms of journalism Conference, Brussels, Belgium, December 4-5 2014.
Montgomery, M. (2007) The Discourse of Broadcast News: A linguistic approach, London and New York: Routledge.