«Quando il saggio indica la luna, lo stolto guarda il dito» recita un proverbio di discussa origine.
Il significato è chiaro: non bisogna fermarsi alla superficie delle cose, degli eventi, ma coglierne la profondità, la verità. Le rappresentazioni mediali sembrano in parte capovolgere il consiglio dell’antico proverbio: è necessario soffermarsi sui processi che costruiscono la realtà, sui ‘gesti’ (sociali, mediali) che la definiscono, la delimitano, la indicano. Riflettere sulle rappresentazioni mediali, come si intende fare nelle prossime pagine, significa dunque riflettere sul dito che indica il reale, sul processo di ‘messa in forma’ contenuto nell’indicare, operato dai soggetti e dal sistema sociale e mediale, come gesto non naturale, ma profondamente contestuale, contingente. Dal punto di vista del sistema dei media e di chi cerca di studiarlo, non c’è nessuna luna senza un dito che la indica, e non c’è nessun dito senza una mano, un braccio, un soggetto, un contesto che lo muove.
by Piermarco Aroldi, Simone Carlo, Barbara Gasparini
by Fausto Colombo
The article gives an account of a research on the information treatment given to the attacks of Madrid happened
on March 11 th 2004 by four national daily papers.
In the first days after the attacks it is verifiable a predictable massive coverage of the facts, that joins
the newspapers taken into consideration. In parallel, a universalist isotope transversally dominates, founded
upon the humanitarian rhetoric: the description both oral and iconic of the innocent victims, the definition of
the terrorist acts in themselves as anti-human and pre-political actions. In the initial phase of the information,
the narrative and commented registers are open to a plurality of interpretative hypothesis. This, however,
leaves well soon the place to some choices on which the headings are markedly divided. If in fact the victims
are universally innocent, and the solidarity with them can only be immediate, the executioners’ identification
brings along political interpretation and different results in journalistic attitudes.
We find therefore a narrative formulation, founded upon investigation and mystery, strong in a newspapers
such as «Repubblica», in which the talent for detective journalism is stronger.
It occurs then a diplomatic attitude, of disenchanted comment, as far as possible, in which what is
reconstructed is the International scenery, with particular reference to the fight of the democratic countries
against global terrorism; the «Corriere della Sera» seems to privilege this perspective.
Finally there is a political-ideological attitude, which slowly brings the themes to an ideological
scenery applicable to Italian history.
«The Giornale» and «the Manifesto» are inserted in this discursive choice: therefore, the victims and
the executioners continually exchange their place and the proximity between the Spanish government of
Aznar and the Italian one of Berlusconi are read only as one front (to be supported in «the Giornale»’s opinion,
to be fought in «the manifesto»’s opinion).
The defeat of Aznar becomes the pre-figuration of Silvio Berlusconi’s defeat. The scene changes, the
victims, slowly fade away.
by Piermarco Aroldi, Simone Carlo, Fausto Colombo
The contemporary society is countersigned by a progressive substitution of the concept of fear by that of risk,
which contemplates the rational possibility of control on the dangerousness of a given phenomenon by the
individual and the system. The article starts from the terminological and conceptual distinction between risk
and danger, and indicates then two types of communication: the communication of crisis and the communication
of the risk. On this last one strongly weighs the communicative intervention of the media.
The probability of risk varies as the system ability to know how to react to the emergency situations
varies, and not simply with the possibility in itself that the event happens: according to this approach it is
therefore necessary to elaborate tools to prevent and check the risks, through the management of the system
efficiency, regularizing the information flows among the subjects composing the communicative chain of risk
and emergency: institutions, media and citizens.
The analysis of a particular case (the diffusion of H5N1 virus – generally known as being responsible
for the «avian influence» – in the period included between August 2005 and March 2006, in the informative
coverage operated by the «Corriere della Sera» and by the Tg1) allows identifying some problems of risk
communication by the Institutions and to verify their consequences in food consumption in Italy.
It emerges that the media discourses are very powerful in creating awareness of the danger, but they are
contradictory in creating a correct perception of the risk; secondly, the media discourses seem to be weak in
driving the consumers’ behaviour: the population manifests a certain distrust towards the evaluation of the
risk operated by «expert systems», deciding alone the purchasing behaviour to be adopted.
The last part of the article describes a best practice: the planning and realization of a food safety manual
edited by an Italian Ministry, starting from the awareness acquired during the avian emergency.
by Carmelo Garitaonandia, Maialen Garmendia, Giovanna Mascheroni, Maria Francesca Murru, Cristina Ponte
The media discourses at a European level have given great emphasis to the risks connected to the use of
Internet and on line technologies for children. The article is based on a research realized within the project
EU Kids Online, a European research project on the risks and opportunities connected to the use of Internet
and the new media by children and teen-agers.
The investigation has quantitatively and qualitatively analyzed the informative coverage that the main
newspaper of the twenty-one countries involved in the project have dedicated to the matter of the risks of the
net for children and teen-agers. The deep differences noticed among the different national contexts show how
the perception and the representation of the risks are modeled by specific social and cultural factors.
Particularly, the article isolates the cases of three countries of south-western Europe, Italy, Portugal and
Spain, to verify if the sharing of a common cultural and socio-technological background can bring to similar
representations of the new media and of the risks for the youngest consumers.
Through a specific focus on the contextual factors from one side, and on the specificity of the national
media from the other, the comparative analysis sets the objective to bring to light the similarities and differences
of the informative coverage, noticing how, close to the common representative dimension, some difformities
persists in the mediatic construction mediate of infancy and of the new technologies of information
Particularly striking are two common lines of the analyzed countries: from one side the emphasis
toward the risks connected to the sexual and aggressive contents, from the other the scarce attention toward
risks linked to the commercial dimension of the net.
by Enrico Esposto, Marina Villa
The article examines the information coverage related to the Irish referendum on the Treaty of Lisbon and to
the crisis of the European Union following the negative answer resulting from this referendum.
The analysis of the communication of the national Tv News and of some daily newspaper shows a discontinuous
course. Before the vote the Italian media have not given a lot of attention to the referendum event
and its possible consequences. After the vote, the attention for the European institutional crisis has been
strong, but only in the moment in which it has exploded. Even considering this «unprecedented», «serious» crisis, «able to paralyse» Europe, in the newspapers and in the News the cycle of life of the news was brief
and based on politics: if the Treaty was in the political agenda, then it was talked about, but in the moment in
which it disappeared from the agenda and from the interventions of the politicians it also disappeared from
News and newspapers.
For what concerns the ways of speaking about the referendum and the crisis of the Ue, in the moment
of great attention the story was dramatized, reported with alarm and apprehension (even though for a brief
period) in all the analyzed headings.
It is meaningful, for our country, that the story was politicized and Italianised. Particularly: a) newspapers
and News have given a reading of the referendum in a key of inside politics; b) the focus has been set
on the debate inter- and intra- parties; c) the comments (especially in the News) have been heard in prevalence
from national political leaders and ministries. For what concerns the journalistic discourse on the crisis
and its protagonists, in the News declarations and comments are delegated to the politicians.
The newspapers seem to privilege the comparison among different positions, the long interview, the
authoritative opinion; comments are given by experts or by the representatives of a precise opinion, journalists
and not. Unlike what happens in the three foreign daily newspapers taken into examination, in Italy the
debate on the Treaty developed inside Ireland is not very deep and the scenario is simplified.
by Daniele Milesi, Marco Tomassini
The article investigates the representation strategies of some Italian newspapers in occasion of the Family
Day, the public demonstration of May 12 th 2007 in defence of the family, organized by the Catholic associations
in opposition to the bill on common law marriage (DiCo, in Italy) proposed by Prodi Government.
The three headings examined, used different strategies in describing the Family Day, and often clearly
in contrast, for what concerns both the modality of production, choice and organization of the information,
and in the definition of the attitude and axiological orientation towards the represented event.
In this process, the newspapers explicit some positions towards the represented object, referable to specific
strategies of self-acceptance and negotiation of the communicative pact with their readers.
The representative logic of every newspaper refers to two dimensions. The first is about the approval
of institutional figures and themes («Messaggero» e «Repubblica») versus the reference to representative subjects
of the category of «people» («Avvenire»); the second dimension refers to the «distance of the representation
», counter posing a story «from the inside» («Avvenire» e «Repubblica») to a detached and distant narration
The interaction among the different strategies explains and also motivates a different relationship with
the reader, which for each newspaper lies on the grounds of authoritativeness, of participation, and of critical
conscience, also building in different ways the identity of each newspaper.
However, the representative models are not monolithic and fixed, on the contrary, they can suffer partial
redefinitions and reassessment. In this case the newspaper will have the additional assignment to normalize
and to incorporate the change of course without creating identity problems, renegotiating the pact with
their own readers. This has happened after the Family Day when the enormous audience, much more than
anticipated, caused a change in their discourse, in favour of the popular opinion.
by Piermarco Aroldi, Barbara Gasparini, Fabio Introini, Cristina Pasqualini
The article starts from the consideration of how the basic and structural role that the family represents in the
human experience and in the social fabric exposes it to be the object of consideration of cultural agencies and
collective subjects which often represent it according to, partial, when not distorted logics.
So the cohabitation of a plurality of discourses about the family, publicly pronounced from different
social subjects are able to produce as many images and collective representations of the family.
The focusing of this contribution concerns some typologies of social subjects responsible of the media
discourses on the family, the ways in which they conceive the family experience and its priorities today, how
much they are aware of this subjective perception, what they think it is the common feeling about the family
reality, and how this awareness today – together with the with those more strictly professional related to the
markets, the languages and the public which they address – enter the process of construction of their discourses,
and therefore in the media imagination depending on them.
The article examines the aware and unaware conditioning which drive the process of mediation operated
by those professional categories of mediators and cultural operators on which depends the production of
a real social representation of the family experience: journalists of the printed paper, on one side, fiction
scriptwriters and producers advertising creative people, on the other.
Every type of family representation produced is investigated; the rules and the inside limitations to the
discursive genre and the specific productive system; the awareness level of the operators with respect to such
norms and, consequently, the perception of the limitations and inadequacies with respect to the representative,
creative, and axiological demands, of the operators themselves
A plurality of images of families emerges on one side anchored to the common sense, but showing on
the other the plurality of meanings and the changes to which the family is submitted in the present society.
Therefore, the strategies of the discursive production on family, according to the considered sector, stir along
the axle that almost goes from the adherence almost ‘naturalistic’ to the complexity of the family reality to its
by Simone Carlo, Francesca Pasquali
The investigation here proposed takes into examination the «Corriere della Sera» and the daily paper free
press «Metro» for a three-months’ period.
The times when Internet was a new technology, to be explained, are over. The question now is, what
are today in Italy the social discourses on the net.
The representation of Internet appears today pulverized in the routine discourses of the media, on one
side given for granted inside the more general talks on the media system, on the other side keeping a dimension of ‘novelty’ that guarantees the its being part of the news.
The central knots around which the discourses on the net are condensed are: 1) Internet as a tecno-economic
element, 2) as a dangerous place, 3) as an arena of fun and diversion.
Vice versa, in contrast with the emancipative rhetoric still permeating other social discourses on the net,
the debate on themes such as the social share and politics through Internet, the access and the use of the computer
resources, the governance of the tool are almost entirely missing.
by Simone Carlo
The article examines the ‘iPod case’, in its structural particularity inside the market of the new communication
What characterized this device – within the paradigm of mobility – is the particular dependence from
network and PC. The hypothesis of the author is that not only music is permeated by dialectics between
extreme personalization and desire of community (and communication), but also the management of the
meanings associated to iPod device is conditioned by this bipolar system. This is particularly evident in the
link between iPod and iTunes software, from the specific point of view of contents. We are assisting here to
two contrasting phenomena: from one side iPod tends to become more and more capacious and ‘independent’
from a point of view of digital memory, from the other side Apples promotes and follows a policy of gradual
release of contents through iTunes MS, which stimulates a continuous dependence from the web.
Actually, we still have to underline the duplicity of the iTunes MS phenomenon,: from one side the shop
is a place where one can buy ‘already known’ music, but on the other side it works as a top-down information
place (a sort of news window) and mainly as a place for the diffusion of underground and indie contents.
In iTunes MS there are both typical tendencies of a commercial reality and phenomena, which are more
similar to the creation of an Internet community.
IPod value is in its being a cult object allowing a synthesis between the will to a tendency to freedom,
to the independence of choice of the single persons, though linking them to the network society of shared contents,
and the community of values and distinctions of who is a part (or wants to be part) of the iPod generation
(and of the podcasting-generation).
by Antonio Dini
The article proposes a research on the network places in which the discourse related to the passage of video
and audio contents develops through various platforms and formats.
The research concentrates on the typology of discourses and practices, on the places of exchange of
information and products, on the typology of the involved subjects and their functions, on the finality of this
exchange. The emerging scenery – even if not really exhaustive – finds out a strong complexity, which seems
to follow the ‘RootCasting’ logics, a spontaneous but organic mechanism of various practices which activate
distribution and consumption modalities which are peculiar, alternative to the ‘circular emission’ or
Within this paradigm, it is possible to recognize some central knot: the first concerns the fact that the
discourse orientates where there is more necessity to understand and learn: the information flows among the
subjects to transmit more consumption forms, the way to realize them and the materials to be consumed
(download how to do it, what to download).
The second is related to the extraordinary vitality of communities, whose practices can be reduced to
the ‘exchange’ which is an end in itself.