Preferred readings and ideological closure

In the daily routine of newsmaking, the ideological determinants of news-discourse gain practical expression. What happens is that the multi-accentual ‘potential for meaning’ of the chosen signs (verbal and visual), and their capacity for connotation and myth, are filled in until the signs are ‘closed’, apparently uni-accentual.

In order to effect ideological closure, the event is put together with signs that indicate how it should be understood – what it ‘means’. There is, in other words, a ‘preferred reading’ (Hall 1977, pp. 341 ff.) encoded into the way a story is told. To dig out the preferred reading whilst watching the news can sometimes be hard, in the sense that ...

Get Understanding News now with the O’Reilly learning platform.

O’Reilly members experience books, live events, courses curated by job role, and more from O’Reilly and nearly 200 top publishers.