The European Journal of Humour Research

Vol 9, No 1 (2021)

Humour as a strategy for news delivery: the case of Meduza

Viktoria Vladimirovna Vasileva, Liubov Yurevna Ivanova


In this article, humour is viewed as a strategic resource for informing in media discourse. It is analyzed through the case of “Evening Meduza”, a Russian-language nightly newsletter, received via email or Telegram messenger. A media linguistics analysis of polycode hypermedia text is used to identify communicative linguistic means, contributing to a comic reinterpretation of news on the paratextual, intratextual and visual-illustrative level. News messages in the newsletter are created in the format of compressed “packagings” (a term borrowed from Chafe) with embedded links, following which an addressee goes to the page with source text or concomitant informational resources. Humour is analyzed in packagings as well as in whole text and paratext blocks. Humorous means are revealed in three vectors of analysis: empathy in packaging texts, paratextual focus interaction, and news visualization. The change of narrative perspectives in text packages allows the authors to shift the focus of contrast within a newspiece and create humorous content while showing empathy to readers with different presuppositional expectations. The author’s signature always includes a prepositive ironic addition (attribution) that highlights one of the issue’s news elements and forces the audience to reread the newsletter in order to understand the semantic relation. Subheadings create a comic contrast, focusing on individual parts of the reference content while preparing the reader to perceive the news of the day interconnectedly. A mandatory humorous component in the block “And – picture” was found to show the news event in a visual semiotic code using a demotivator style that expresses a pun.



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