We explain what informational and opinion genres are and how they differ. Also, what are its characteristics and classification.
What are informational and opinion genres?
Journalistic genres are the ways in which news is written and are divided between informational and opinion genres. They belong to the literary field, since they are written, and are intended to be disseminated through the press.
Like all literary genres , they involve a series of writing formulas that characterize it . These formulas compose a system of rules for writing.
The division between news and opinion genres exists from the fact that the journalist prioritizes transmitting information or expressing their opinions.
However, there are currently mixed genres in journalism that combine both intentions. New variables continually appear that cannot be framed solely in one of the genres. However, the existence of genres is necessary as a pedagogical and analytical instrument .
Origin and evolution
Although the informational and opinion genres originated in the tradition of literary genres , due to their evolution they are considered part of the mass media , specifically journalism.
In fact, they have been transferred as speeches to radio and television .
Informational genres can be easily distinguished from opinion genres by style. In the former, the linguistic style is governed by three characteristics: clear, concrete and concise . On the other hand, in opinion genres, a greater variety of styles can be found.
Although a subjectivity is suggested, in the editorial the first person singular is not used , and the style is serious, in accordance with the subject matter and usually coincides with the clarity and conciseness of the news genres. On the other hand, in other opinion genres such as the column, the particular style of the author is expected to be present in the text .
The news and opinion genres did not appear simultaneously nor did they always have the same importance, but, within the context of journalism, they went through various stages that do not follow one another and also overlap each other in certain periods:
- Ideological journalism. It begins in the middle of the 19th century and ends in 1914, with the beginning of the First World War . It is characterized by the ideological and doctrinal load and is the antecedent of the current opinion genres.
- Informational journalism. It begins around 1870 and continues until 1936. It is opposed to the tabloid press and is the antecedent of current news genres.
- Explanatory journalism. It appears after the Second World War (1945), when the complexity of both political, economic and social events is deepened. It enters into competition but also in collaboration with radio and television and is the antecedent of reportage and chronicle (information genres).
They are characterized mainly by their objectivity.
- News . It is the basis of journalism. Since it reports on the events that occurred, it is usually the starting point for texts of other genres, both informative and opinionated.
- Reportage . Dig into the information highlighted by the news. In addition to informing, it describes and documents, and it usually has a formal interest for the reader. More informative paragraphs, opinions, interviews and chronicles can be included in this genre. That is why it is said to be the most complete journalistic genre.
- Interview . Although it is traditionally part of the informative genres, today this classification is problematic due to the multiple opinions that can be expressed in an interview and because of the two (or more) subjects who intervene in it. Its structure is dialogue and it can be information (seeks to obtain specific data about a news item), opinion (allows to know the opinions and judgments of people involved with a certain topic) or profile (seeks to portray the character interviewed).
Genres of opinion
They present a reflection on a fact (current or not). The opinion expressed can be explicit or implicit but in all cases it implies a subjectivity.
- Editorial. Raises the ideology of the media. It is not usually signed, since it represents the medium as a whole.
- Letter to the director. It has the peculiarity of not being written by a journalist, but by a reader and expresses his point of view on a subject that belongs to public opinion.
- Opinion article . It is characterized by being expository or argumentative, and refers to a specific topic. Its author may not be a journalist but a person outside the medium but recognized in relation to the subject on which he writes.
- Column. It is similar to the opinion article but its publication is periodic.
- Review. A specialist argues his opinion on an artistic work of any genre.
Hybrid and special texts
Many texts can communicate objective information but also express an opinion.
Although they were traditionally considered news genres, reportage and chronicle texts are currently considered hybrids.
Its structure and characteristics are particular, so the division between information and opinion is not easily recognizable .
Although they are traditionally included among the informative genres, currently they are considered particular genres that require a different analysis . Typical formats are research and interview.
In the informative genres, the headline contains the main data that wants to be transmitted.
In opinion genres, the information transmitted in the headline can refer to the subject to be discussed or the opinion to be expressed.
In all cases, the goal of the headline is to get the reader’s attention .
Entradilla or lead entry
It is the first paragraph that summarizes the content of the text . It is usually present in news genres but is not usually part of the structure of opinion genres.
It is the development of the text. In informational genres, you start with the most important data and then complete with information that is less relevant but necessary to understand the big picture.
In opinion texts, the structure of the body depends on the form of argumentation .
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