Sound and vision in the opening titles of Māori-language television news: A multimodal analysis of cultural hybridity
Māori are the indigenous people of Aotearoa New Zealand. British settlers arrived in the 19th century with their tradition of the newspaper, and this led to a thriving Māori-language press. Today, news in te reo Māori, the Māori language, is delivered by television, radio and the internet, harnessing the conventions of Anglo-American journalism to tell stories of indigenous preoccupations (Fox 2002). The cultural hybridity that results (Grixti 2011) is particularly marked in the opening titles of Māori-language news. The musical and visual tropes of news-show mythmaking that present the news as sites of power, truth and authority are married to representations of Māori identity and beliefs to speak to a necessarily bicultural audience (A. Middleton 2020). In this paper, a multimodal approach is employed (Bignell 2002; Machin 2010; van Leeuwen 2012), which uses frame-by-frame analysis of speech, scripts, images and music to reveal the semiosis or sign processes in play in the opening titles of the country’s top-rated English-language news bulletin, 1 News, and those of the two Māori-language television news bulletins, Te Karere and Te Kāea. Analysis reveals that 1 News titles employ the sign systems common to their counterparts across Anglophone countries in the way they promote themselves as credible, all-seeing authorities. While the titles of Māori-language news opening titles retain many of the same tropes and signposts in order to be understood as a news show, they also weave in cultural references deeply embedded in Māori language and culture to represent themselves as news by and for Māori rather than the dominant culture.
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