Transformation Of A Media Text Genre Structure In The Modern Media Education


The article is devoted to one of the most important problems of the modern media education, namely, to the processes of genre structure transformation of a media text caused by the emergence of the informational society, technology-related revolutions, socio-cultural and economic changes in the society. The authors of the article hold to the opinion, that in the digital age the traditional classification of media genres into informational, analytical, literary and art, including their variations, is replaced by the genre structure due to the influence of modern processes. The genre structure is based on a triple-genre group of media texts: journalistic, advertising and PR-texts. At that the preferential basis for the classification remains publicistic or journalistic models of information. Global expansion of communication space due to the development of new informational technologies, Internet in particular, created natural conditions for genres unification. Creation of media text genres in advertising and journalism is subject to the general laws of genre creation as a whole. The study of the causes and consequences of genre system restructuring of mass media represent the integral part of media creation, which should help the audience to master the features of mass media influence on social development.

Keywords: Media textmedia educationjournalistic textadvertising textPR textgenre


Global mediatization of modern information space and development of computer-networking technology made actual the public importance of media education creation (Buckingham, 2003; Ciardiello, 2012; Ferguson, Macfadyen, Clow, Tynan, Shirley, Dawson, 2014), which should be directed not only at explaining the features of mass media impact on mass communication. It is much more important to form key skills and abilities, as well as necessary knowledge so that the audience could participate adequately in mass communication, understand specifics of modern mass media and communication means related to the computerization and standardization of mass communication. On one hand these reasons caused the erosion of the previous traditional genre characteristics, but on the other provoked the need to develop new and effective forms of media communications (Baudrillard, 1982; Lasswell, 1948; Luhmann, 2000; Croteau & Hoynes, 2003; Van Dijk, 2006). Therefore, the priority task of media education becomes formation of knowledge about media texts creation and functioning, understanding of its new types and ability to create media texts in accordance with communicative situations in a multimedia and multi-platform media market leaning towards virtual reality. All these requirements are related to the problems of media education and genre structure transformation of a media text. The importance of this issue is determined by the fact that the systems of genres in journalism are "a kind of age indicator" (Kuznetsov, Tsvik, Yurovsky, 2002).

Research Questions

The term "genre" has many definitions and is derived from the word, which depending on the context can mean a huge range of phenomena (from type and species to sex). Indisputable is the fact that this term has a direct relationship with the shape of the object in question. The real journalistic art touches upon the issue of genre when there takes place the search of facts and their systematization, when construction of concepts is intertwined with the search of lexical, stylistic, figurative means of thoughts objectification and the most accurate, expressive forms of their implementation. But at that the form of publicistic works is inextricably linked to the content. At the stage of realization of a journalist’s concept, that is, the work creation, the genre is the most essential form among all the rest of others mastered by journalism. Therefore, the problem in question was formulated as follows: what is the genre structure in the modern society and how does it influence the communication space.

Purpose of the Study

Initially, journalism development within the concept of a form manifested in the differentiation of genres, as well as in the emergence of an increasing number of persistent forms varieties. In this case the increasing complexity of the emerged forms is the concrete manifestation of the universal gnoseological consistent pattern. The process of continuous change, development and renovation of genre forms takes place in journalism. Genre boundaries are mobile, changeable, and flexible.

The genre in journalism is a relatively stable system of means to express the reality mastered through knowledge. Relatively stable genre modifications in journalism are preferable means to achieve the goal, which stands in front of the author while he is depicting one or another object. Genre accumulates experience of previous works which took place in similar conditions. The purpose of this study is to define and describe the causes and consequences of genre system restructuring of mass media as an integral part of media creation.

Research Methods

The methodological basis of the presented work are the principles of consistency and scientific objectivity, as well as description, analysis, comparison and generalization. The study is based on the complex such scientific methods as analysis and synthesis, induction and deduction, quantitative and qualitative analysis. The situational approach has led to the arrangement of the material in thematic units and the structure of the work. An interdisciplinary approach combining based on the principles of research of various Sciences, have identified the use of specific methods of historical-typological studies and used to not only identify specific features and characteristics of the phenomenon being studied, but a complete picture of the investigated entity.


The core basis of differentiation of genre forms lies in the distinctness of gnoseological cognitive situations which in their turn form the basis of journalistic art. In the theory of modern journalism it is widely recognized to divide genres into three groups, differing from each other and at the same time having common symptoms. These groups are provisionally called: 1) informational genres, 2) analytical genres, 3) literary and art (artistic and journalistic) genres.

However, their genre distinctness is distinguished mainly by two features:

1) by the distinctness of the depicted object, i.e. of the event, issue, reality, which it describes;

2) by the particular purpose, i.e. the goal.

It is clearly revealed within the family of informational genres (notes, reports, interviews, broadcasts). Despite the fact that the object is the same – a newsreel recorded event - it is impossible to understand the causes of such different forms of depicting the same object basing only on the distinctness of the object. To a large extent differentiation of informational publications was emerged by goals differentiation in the frames of one or another message. In this case the aim of the objective differentiation is to expand the range of published material influence on the readership and strengthening of this influence: at first just information gave rise to informational genres, then the goal appeared - to let this information influence on the reactions of the audience. Informational fact needed commenting, interpretation –this gave birth to extensive system of genres.

In the group of analytical genres the goal of publicists is not only to inform the reader about the fact, attract his interest to the event, but also to "open" its roots, to show its essence in addition to its phenomena.

Publicists resort to analysis, reveal deep connections of phenomena within the frames of informational genres. It is important that having knowledge in journalism genres one should not forget about the possibility of filling characteristic genre forms with not quite characteristic content for them. Specific forms of informational genres can be applied and are applied not only in the immanent to them options of object and goal interaction. These cases of the "secondary" use of genre forms should be distinguished from the expression of its organic and specific content.

Analysis of the essence, as opposed to perhaps a more lively visual transmission of phenomenon, is limited for correspondence, reviews or articles. A publicist, referring to this genre, hopes to make his reader not only and not so much an accomplice of the described events, as a person sharing his understanding of the essence of events (or processes). As per the informational genres authors' interpretation of what is happening is very important (especially in the broadcast). Yet the main load of depicting the object depends on the description of details about what is happening and not on what is derived from it - reflections and associations.

Facts and comments "change" places in the transition from the group of informational genres to the group of analytical ones. Their specific weight changes in the structure of the material. At the level of informational genres it is legitimate to talk about the part of the material, which is dedicated to the interpretation of the axial fact - supporting event, as about the comment of this event.In analytical genres understanding of the main problem takes the place of the main event transmission, analysis- of comments and a chain of arguments- of reasoning.

Increased requirements to the logical integrity of the construction and conceptual expression of authors' thoughts are common to all analytical genres. Authors’ purpose is to see the reader among like-minded people, which is to make them active partners in the very process of thinking (and not only upon its results like in the informational genres). This can be achieved by including the reader not so much into visual details of the depicted process, as in the course of authors’ reasoning, vision of details, evidences, identification of original conflict dynamics and consequences of its manifestation. It is common to all analytical genres, but there may be possible interactions between the goal and object. It is interactions between the goal and object that lead to inner differentiation.

Genres - notes, reports, broadcasts, interviews, correspondences, articles, reviews - express options of transition in the ratio of fact - comment - concept (from transmission of phenomenon to transmission of the essence of the depicted event or social situation). On one hand, there is a tendency to adequately convey the object specifics to the greatest possible extent, on the other - to achieve the most effective influence and public resonance. The process implies fixing the reported fact, providing comments and reasoning, identifying contradictions and their correlation with large-scale social laws.

Logical patterns and bases determine the structure of all the mentioned genres. They all use mainly conceptual representation of reality (actuality of facts, visibility, credibility, validity). Artistic images in these genres play a "subsidiary" role as an illustrative material and do not carry the main load. Artistic image is included in the number of journalistic means of expression in the genres of essays, feuilletons, pamphlets, which are referred to artistic and journalistic or literary and art genres.The use of artistic imagery means is not necessary for all journalistic works. It is a mandatory and underlying factor only for artistic and journalistic genres - essays, feuilletons, pamphlets.There comes a contradiction between the actual reliability, efficiency, artistic tasks and means available for their realization; between the material specifics, opportunities to express it artistically and certain editorial requirements.

The way to overcome this contradiction became the formation of a special group of genres - artistic and journalistic (literary and art), recourse to which obviously requires taking into account specific conditions of work with them. These specific conditions are as follows:

  • high level of creative abilities of the journalist;

  • time allowed by the editors office or "cut out" by the author;

  • availability of the appropriate depicted object;

  • availability of the deliberate purpose: to have an impact on the reader with the opportunities available in the artistic image.

Artistic imagery is the main content of the genre varieties of essays, feuilletons and pamphlets, emotionally-shaped structure in them dominates over the conceptual and rational ones. In these genres the publicist’s thoughts appear in the artistic image, since in these cases he represents the form that can express the idea.

This is the traditional view on the specifics of genres, which had reigned in our journalism for many years till 1990s.

The processes of globalization, competition, mass media politicization and mass media functioning in the conditions of informational confrontation in the past 27 years required from communication media new forms of existence and survival in the media market. Russian researchers put more and more emphasis on the functioning of the media in the conditions both of integration of different types of mass communication, as well as on mixing and hybridization of genre structures arising in the multimedia space in a screen form. The reason for this resulted to be processes of media convergence.

The research of modern mass media functioning indicates that editorial services expand the types of production with the purpose to effectively represent them in the informational service market: release of advertising materials, publication of books, creation of electronic versions of publications, etc., which makes researchers speak of a "convergent" jump in the informational sphere. That is why nowadays we can say that one of the types of mass communication convergence is the genre type - when there is a fusion of forms of material presentation: information, comments, actual interviews, etc.

Therefore, it is absolutely logical that the classification of media convergence, proposed by the Norwegian scientists Fagerjord, and Storsul (Croteau, & William, 2003) includes convergence of genres and forms. It assumes that the result of connecting different media platforms (e.g., print media with television media on the base of internet portals) is that genres previously typical of one media platform penetrate and assimilate with others ("Internet column").

The important feature of the contemporary media discourse is acknowledged to be the diffusion of genre forms and their convergence - the emergence of new integrated genres - infortainment (information and entertainment), edutainment (education and entertainment), historytainment (history and entertainment) and others. Many scientists Grabelnikov, Kroychik, Repkova, Maidanova, and Kalganova, Tertychnyi, (Grabelnikov, 2007; Kroychik, 2000; Repkova, 2004; Maidanova, Kalganova, 2006; Tertychnyi, 2004) and others offer modern classifications of genre varieties of journalistic texts. The classification by Tertychnyi, is especially interesting, it lists a number of factors, due to which the Soviet genres of journalism transformed into the Russian genre palette (formation of market relations in Russia, process of globalization and penetration of the Western media into the Russian informational market - at the beginning of the XXI century, decline of the journalism status in the Russian society, reduction of journalists’ professionalism, change of the subject-thematic field of mass media, propaganda of genre forms of the Western journalism while training journalists, stereotyping of informational expectations of the audience) (Kuznetsov, Tsvik, Yurovsky, 2002).

According to Lobodenko, "cross-communicative interaction of journalism, advertising and PR suggests their organizational structural convergence and synthesis, as well as transformation of creative and manufacturing technologies to form media texts, media contents, media products and media brands" (Lobodenko, 2015).

Therefore, we can say that we are dealing not just with the genres of journalism, but with genre varieties of a media text. The term "media text" arose in the 90s of the XX century in the English-language scientific literature. Media text can be defined as a dynamic complex unit of higher-order, through which the verbal communication in the field of mass communications is implemented. The term media text is a hyperonym (generic designation) of a number of previous terms: a journalistic text, PR-text, publicistic text, newspaper text, TV and radio text, advertising text, online mass media text and others. Three main areas of functioning of a media text are journalism, PR and advertising. This suggests that if earlier we were talking about informational, analytical, literary and art genres of journalism, then now under the influence of modern processes the genre structure is transformed and there appear three groups of genres of media texts: journalistic, advertising and PR-texts within which their genre varieties are functioning. That means that processes of integration, transformation and convergence occur not only within the boundaries of journalism, but also at the intersection of journalism, advertising and PR. For example, there appear promotional publications, using genres of journalism well known to us. Advertising and PR-texts are also evolving, adjusting their shape to the semantics of media texts (native advertising).

Thus, it can be assumed that all kinds of genres falling in the media environment, acquire similar features and similar media begin to respond to similar media requirements turning into the elements of a global media text. In Russia today traditional journalistic genres transforming into a media text are expanding their capabilities, incorporating characteristics of journalistic, advertising and PR-texts, since about 80% of the mass media content in one way or another is connected with the execution of clients’ orders (advertising services and PR-structures). This trend is also reflected in the variety of genres. This system requires from the modern journalist to master all genres and formats of the media text since the media text is all of the mass media content, consisting of journalistic, advertising and PR-materials, photographs, infographics, video, audio, animations, graphic elements and others.

Genre characteristics of advertising texts are poorly studied. Lack of clear identification of genre distinctness of advertising texts in some cases led to its substitution by general journalistic specifics (Uchenova). This opinion is shared by Rosenthal and Kokhtev, who noted that for advertising purposes almost all journalistic genres are used: notes, articles, correspondences, essays, broadcasts, reviews, critical reviews, interviews and others. Therefore, they distinct only one proper advertising genre of advertisement - a brief message communicated oral or in a written form by the author to the addressee through mass media means about any fact, which took, is taking or will take place in reality, in order to induce the recipient to any action. Promotional advertisements are of three types: informational (contain only verbal and informative oriented components), influencing (in addition to informative-oriented components contain communicative-calling elements) and combined (contain features of the first two).

There also exist secondary advertising genres, the main "donor" of which is the field of journalism. Researchers have repeatedly pointed out the stylistic relation of advertising and journalistic texts. Using genres of journalistic discourse with advertising purposes has become common, advertising appeals are more often presented in the form of sketches, essays, stories and other genre forms of artistic and artistic-journalistic discourses.

PR-text and the system of its genres still don’t have a full scientific description either in the modern Russian theory of relations or in the works of foreign scientists. Systematic linguistic description of PR-text genres was first proposed by the philologist Krivonosov (2002). He identifies the groups of genres in accordance with the target audience: internal (functioning within the organization) and external (designed for other target audiences and wide audiences) texts; by the channel of distribution: primary texts (coming from the basic subject of PR, which journalists use as a source of information to create their own publications –a press release, invitation, backgrounder, list of questions and answers, fact-sheet, biography, by-liner, letter, greeting, statement for mass media, press kit, brochure, pamphlet, booklet, leaflet) and secondary texts (which are distributed in media in the finished form, media texts - image articles, interviews and case-stories). PR-text is a variety of texts of mass communication. The most important area of PR is considered to be media relations, which deals with the tasks to deliver information to the right audience through mass media or press-service; it is as well a component of mass communication. PR-text, mediated through mass media, has functions of marketing communications texts.

One of the technological functions of PR is acknowledged to be the function of mass communication. Division of PR-texts into primary and secondary is not complete - primary texts can be as well propagated in the media, but functioning in the system of mass media is the basic constitutive feature for the secondary texts; as per complexity: simple and combined texts (consisting of simple ones). In addition, there also exist combined texts, such as newsletters (corporate edition). Such publications differ quite a lot from mass media by their objectives, format, subject, categorization and genre system. As a rule, they represent a conglomerate of journalistic, PR and advertising publications with different mass fractions of texts from each group, depending on the newsletter type.

Global expansion of communication space due to the development of new informational technologies, internet in particular, created natural conditions for genres unification. The need also stems from the creation of original media forms in connection with the intensive formation of the virtual reality market/VR (Jenkins; Pratten) (Jenkins, 2011; Repkova, 2004. Russian journalism, keeping true to its traditions, absorbs all of the most productive of the Western European and American journalism.


Creation of media text genres in advertising and journalism is subject to the general laws of genre creation as a whole. Among the key characteristics of genre creation of media texts there can be mentioned the depicted subject, target setting and depiction method. The depiction method of advertising can be a product, service, event and person + non-personal presentation of information. Another important characteristic of genre creation is the target of a media text.

So, it can be argued that the old genre classification is outdated and requires changes. The process of "revision" of genre boundaries has led to the fact that some genres - reports, interviews, correspondences, broadcasts – are no longer strictly described as only informational or analytical. At the same time the revaluation of genre values took place: some genres almost left newspaper pages (sketches, feuilletons, leading articles, press reviews) and others, on the contrary, strengthened their presence (interviews, commentaries, essays). PR and advertising texts became the sign of a newspaper page.


Thus, the study of the causes and consequences of genre system restructuring of mass media represent the integral part of media education, which should help the audience to master the features of mass media influence on social development.


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