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Reading: Changing faces - changing cultures. The Swiss TV news show Tagesschau from the 50s to today


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Changing faces - changing cultures. The Swiss TV news show Tagesschau from the 50s to today


Martin Luginbühl

About Martin

Martin Luginbühl, studies of German linguistics and literature, history and social history in Zürich; 1997-2001 research associate in several linguistic research projects of Prof. Harald Burger, Zürich. Since 2003 scholarship holder of the Swiss National Science Foundation for Advanced Researchers; since 2004 Visiting Scholar at the Communication Department at the University of California San Diego (ucsd). Publications in the field of conversation analysis, media linguistics and text linguistics.

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In analysing the changing repertoire of 'text types' used in the only Swiss national tv news programme from the 1950s until today four main phases are described. In the 1950s the Tagesschau was a sort of tv magazine which was both informative and entertaining with news films while in the 1960s and 1970s it was primarily a show for short detached and condensed information about hard facts. There was also a shift from chronological news narratives to the 'inverted pyramid'. In the 1980s there was a shift towards more parasocial communication more critical reporting and towards more dialogue in the programme. There was also a growing tendency to present 'closeness' which began in the 1970s with the introduction of correspondents' 'packages'. Since the 1990s the position of the anchor has been reinforced: the trend towards parasocial communication continues. There are more packages and more interviews both of which are text types that present closeness to some extent; text types in which the news is exclusively read by a newsreader on screen have become rare. On the other hand more than 20% of the programme consists of film items that are read by anonymous voices in a detached manner. The question is discussed why the programme has been designed in this way and it is argued that the presentation of the news is above all determined by changes in the journalistic culture as opposed to changes in the media system the media market or technical developments.

How to Cite: Luginbühl, Martin. 2005. “Changing Faces - Changing Cultures. The Swiss TV News Show Tagesschau from the 50s to Today”. TMG Journal for Media History 8 (2): 159–69. DOI:
Published on 01 Dec 2005.


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