Features of a genre

In this week’s lesson, Ames (2016) discusses how Tolson (1991) argued that ‘chat-based programming was initially a term used to describe the speech genre associated with television programming.’ Tolson (1991) also explained that the main features of chat-based programming are that; ‘it is oriented toward the personal, it features wit and humour, and the risk of transgression underlies talk,’ (Ames 2016). This type of talk is all performed, even if it comes across as conversational (Ames 2016).

The video linked here is a clip from the Australian Today Show. It is obvious from the video that the two main hosts, Karl Stefanovic and Lisa Wilkinson, as well as the entertainment reporter Richard Wilkins, are considered to be good hosts. It is clear that they are experienced media performers as they are prepared, knowledgeable as to what is coming ahead and how to respond, they can think on their feet, they can easily talk to and at the camera, and they are comfortable with interacting with the audience, each other, and studio crew (Ames 2016). This particular segment was very light-hearted, improvised and humorous, however was still relevant to an upcoming event across Australia – NAPLAN testing in schools. It possessed all three features as revealed by Tolson (1991) for a chat-based program.

TODAY show.png

Piece to Camera practice

View my PTC here!


Ames (2016) states that, ‘a “piece to camera” (PTC) describes the action of talking to the camera directly.’ I believe that I have successfully delivered a PTC and have met the basic requirements by describing the scene around me. The biggest challenge when presenting a PTC is finding a balance between being confident and staying professional, as well as maintaining authenticity (Ames 2016). I definitely found this to be a challenge, as I did not want to be embarrassed by the way I spoke to the camera and the audience. I also found it difficult to memorise my PTC, as this is the most beneficial way to deliver it well. I was quite nervous when presenting the story, resulting in looking at my script more than I needed to for reassurance. I do however, believe I effectively used speech techniques such as ‘going up’ and ‘going down’ where appropriate and articulating my words clearly. In the future, I will work harder to ensure I have memorised my PTC before I deliver it in front of the camera so I look more professional and prepared.


The Clayman (1990) article explored how local interactional context can provide for reported speech in quotations from the reporter-source interrogation. It also aimed to discover how news source material is processed and incorporated into finished news stories on television and in print. In the section that discussed ‘the structure of interactionally generated source quotations,’ Clayman (1990) stated that paraphrased statements – from a variety of sources – are prevalent in newspaper and television stories. Clayman (1990) acknowledges different types of quoting practices that are used by reporters and journalists. For example, some ask questions that prompt specific answers or steer questions to get a preferred response. A key statement noted by Clayman (1990) was, ‘it is a well-established principle that the meaning of verbal, gestural and other communicative displays depends upon the contexts in which they are used.’

Clayman (1990) recognised three ways that statements can be recorded, which are as; answers (most information is derived from oral channels), relating the answer to the preceding question (timing of the response or the most common method – noting it as confirmatory or rejecting), or as nonanswers (write that the source refused to answer, a quote of what the source said, write a nonverbal action they portrayed, or note that a minimal answer was provided).

Clayman (1990) describes just some of the ways in which journalists convey what took place in an interview or press conference and how they write these in a story or article.

Source: The Conversation, 2014

How do these points relate to the way in which the maiden speech might be reported?

Relating these key points to the second assignment, the maiden speech could be reported on by taking direct quotes from the public speech and writing ‘questions’ to go alongside the responses. As already discussed in the blog post for week 6, maiden speeches are not to be interrupted, so there is no opportunity for reporters to ask questions until after the speech has concluded. It is also suggested that parts of the maiden speech would be paraphrased to create a news story or article.


Reference List

Ames, K 2016, COMM12033: Speech and Script Lesson 7: Genres of Speech – Media: study guide, CQUniversity e-courses, https://moodle.cqu.edu.au/pluginfile.php/293241/mod_resource/content/3/COMM12033_Week7_Mod.pdf

Clayman, S. 1990, ‘From talk to text: newspaper accounts of reporter-source interactions’, Media Culture & Society, vol. 12, pp. 79- 103, viewed 1 May 2016, http://www.sscnet.ucla.edu/soc/faculty/clayman/Site/Publications_files/Clayman%201990%20Talk_to_Text.pdf

Karl Stefanovic 2016, Today’s Karl Stefanovic and Lisa Wilkinson return to the classroom for NAPLAN testing, video, 10 May, viewed 12 May 2016, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qria8LcNLq0

Tolson, A. 1991, ‘Televised chat and the synthetic personality’, Broadcast Talk, ed P. Scannell, Sage Publications, London, pp. 178–200


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s