Television news and the digital environment: a triadic multimodal approach for analysing moving image media

Bernadine Jones

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Taking into account the image and narrative analysis akin to film studies, as well as discourse as per the long-standing tradition of print analysis, this article suggests a dedicated triadic multimodal methodological approach for television news analysis. The precise methodology for best practice qualitative text analysis is as yet poorly defined (Macnamara 2005, 16), but this article proposes a solution to that very concern. This article engages with the methodological challenges of studying television news, and critically reviews several established methods – semiotics, discourse analysis, and the context of media production – but calls for a more holistic approach that better integrates the multimodal nature of television news. I propose a method which allows a blend of the different tracks of television news, from audio and visual to the political economy of these texts. I do so with a view to providing tools for media and journalism students to carry out a beginner’s analysis, but also for more established research to engage with the requirements of studying television news. I then provide an example of how this triadic method can be operationalised by analysing a television news broadcast in relation to the coverage of violence in the context of the 2014 South African election.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)116-137
Number of pages22
JournalEcquid Novi
Issue number2
Early online date6 Jul 2016
Publication statusPublished - 6 Jul 2016

Bibliographical note

BERNADINE JONES, a PhD candidate and research assistant at the University of Cape Town, tutors undergraduate students on media theory and practice. Her research interests include South African representation on broadcast news, social semiotic theory and analysis, and news values. She has a particular interest in issues of power and discourse within news. Her PhD entails a semiotic analysis of the South African general elections on television news.


  • convergence journalism
  • television studies
  • television news
  • multimodal methodology
  • moving image analysis
  • media analysis
  • Digital media

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication


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  • DST/NRF Innovation Scholarship

    Jones, Bernadine (Recipient), 2014

    Prize: Fellowship awarded competitively

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