Peer-Reviewed Journal Details
Mandatory Fields
Quinn, Fergal & Vaughan, Elaine
Critical Discourse Studies
Discourses of tragedy: a comparative corpus- based study of newspaper reportage of the Berkeley balcony collapse and Carrickmines fire
Optional Fields
critical discourse analysis, journalism
Hierarchies of information inclusion, omission and (re)presentation of society and its citizenry is a critical aspect of news presentation. This paper looks at newspaper reportage of two tragic events in 2015: a balcony collapse in Berkeley, USA, in which six Irish students died; and a fire at a halting site in Carrickmines, Ireland, which claimed the lives of four adults and six children who were members of the Irish Traveller community. This latter group are an officially recognised indigenous ethnic minority within Irish society, and the community experiences the type of structural inequalities and stigmatisation associated with membership of less powerful groups within a broader society. A bottom-up corpus linguistic methodology is used to generate and interpret perspectives on the newspaper coverage to probe and to assess similarities and, critically, diff erences, in the nature of the discourses surrounding the communities affected by the tragedies. In doing so, it finds the language used in the reportage could be argued to feed into a subtle ‘othering’. It is also suggested that a tendency to distance or depersonalise when reporting on events involving minorities in a way that has implications connected to legitimation and perpetuation of unequal power relationships.
Grant Details