|dc.description||The aim of the present MA thesis “The news magazine as a social resource for teenagers.
A qualitative study about the reception of the television news programme “Reporter””is
to investigate the news reception of Estonian teenagers. The research object is complex,
consisting of the following components:
• television as the channel presenting the audiovisual text;
• the news genre and the other stories of the news magazine;
• teenage children as recipients.
The research questions are the following:
• To which extent do the stories of the news magazine function as cohesive and
integral audiovisual text for children, and in which cases and for what reasons do
children notice only single fragments of picture or sound?
• What are the factors that create meaning and cause distancing for the children
during the reception of the news magazine?
• To what extent can a news programme be considered as a social resource for
The novelty of the research focus of the thesis determined the necessity for developing a
methodology for acquiring as extensive results as possible for the research problems at
hand. It had to be taken into consideration that the reception and interpretation of a
television programme can be perceived as a continuous interaction between the viewer
and the programme. What I thus meant by the efficiency of the chosen method is that its
results clarify how the reception and interpretation of the stories has been influenced by
the content of the news programme, on the one hand, and by the experiential background
of the viewers themselves, on the other hand, as well as by the interaction between the
two. It was therefore necessary to analyse the stories of the news magazine and their
audiovisual composition, as well as their reception by teenagers.
In order to achieve a greater reliability of the method, I decided on combining methods.
The aim of the pilot research was to observe the efficiency of the ethnographic
observation and the in-depth interview with regard to eliciting the empirical material. As
a result I saw the need for additional methods. Trying out and combining different
methods during the research process, I developed a complex method, which consists of
the following components:
• Formation of groups for the reception research
• The recording of the news magazine “Reporter” and the selection of stories
according to certain criteria
• Ethnographic observation of the viewing situation – as a video recording
• Filling in the scales of comprehensibility and interest
• Focus group interview
• Written account of three most memorable stories
• Detailed transcription of the audiovisual text of the stories of the news magazine
and the observation situation
• Detailed qualitative content analysis of the collected texts. Linguistic method.
In the reception analysis I relied mostly on Jensen’s system of text categories and the
theory of super-themes, and on Höijer’s perception of cognitive schemes. For the analysis
of the mutual coherence of the audio and visual texts of the news magazine I also
employed the semiotic approach.
Finally I drew conclusions as to the extent to which the video stories functioned as a
social resource for the children, and provided evaluation about the developed
methodology for the purpose of studying the field at hand.
The more important conclusions with regard to the reception of each story, proceeding
from the reception analysis, would be the following:
• From the “Bronze Soldier” story the children adopted the conflict framing, and during
interpreting made use of the super-themes of “physical conflict” and “Estonian-
Russian friction (in a historical sense)”.
• The reception of the “Traffic Accident” clearly showed dramatic shortcomings in the
news text, where the foregrounding of only one party of the accident created
misconceptions and above all activated the employment of person schemes during
interpreting the sole actor. The children used the super-theme of “traffic accidents”
and withdrew from the content of the story to the private or media sphere.
• “The distribution of portfolios” was positioned into the context of the super-theme of
“elections” as a follow-up news item. As a social resource the news story served a
very superficial purpose.
• The interpretation of the “Kayak Story” reveals the emerging of schemes related to
the extraordinary event and the person performing it. Through the “Kayak Story” the
children reinforced their national pride and the identity of a uniform interpretive
community due to the remarkable achievement of an Estonian man.
• Interpreting the “Tourism Farm”, the children did not use the cognitive schemes
which would have provided meaning for the content-related themes of the story, and
perceived the story within more general super-themes.
• The reception of “”Reporter” in India” provided evidence in support of the fact that
themes which are emphasised both visually and audibly are better remembered and
create meaning. The usage of familiar cognitive schemes helped to better reinforce
the story or its certain parts in memory – it enabled the girls to remember the story
• “Fake photos of celebrities” above all activated the usage of person schemes, but also
of event and role schemes. The story complemented children’s experiential base with
instructions regarding a more critical reading of the reality constructed by journalists.
Using the selected complex of methods was generally efficient, because it enabled to see
how the interpretation of the stories was influenced by the audiovisual text of the story,
on the one hand, and by the experiential background of the recipients themselves, on the
other hand, as well as by the interaction created between the two. The complex usage of
methods helped to increase the reliability of the collected empirical material – the results
of one method provided supportive information for the results acquired with other methods. Using the selected methodology, I received clear data as to the parts of which stories carry a meaning for children and what these meanings are; why children distance
themselves from certain themes and in which cases can a news programme be conceived
as a social resource for teenagers.||en