GS student Gapas discusses linguistic research on Marawi siege news reports at Japan int’l corpus linguistics conference

UST Graduate School student Wilfred Gabriel A. Gapas recently presented a paper on linguistics research focusing on the framing of the Marawi City siege at the 46th International Conference of the Japan Association for English Corpus Studies (JAECS).

JAECS – the largest academic society in Japan devoted to corpus research – initially held the conference live with video presentations now available to the public through their website, www.jaecs2020.org.

While it is undisputed that the Marawi City siege was significant and worthy of news coverage, Gapas delved into the question of how journalists framed the crisis as newsworthy to the readers through the use of language and images. Combining manual and computer-based methods, the study corpus — a collection of real-world text for use in linguistic research — was composed of articles from three national broadsheets.

It was found that the articles primarily relied on “(a) the event’s closeness to readers, (b) how recent the event was, (c) how deeply involved the government was in the flow of events, and (d) how extreme the effects of the crisis was. By identifying how they framed one of the most recent security crises in our lives as newsworthy, we got a clue as to how they may have shaped our awareness through the language and pictures we may have seen in those newspapers,” shared Gapas in an interview.

Gapas studied media linguistics since his undergraduate thesis for his Bachelor of Arts in English Language Studies degree, which he obtained in UST in 2015. For his graduate research in 2016, he focused on news discourses when news on politics from different media outfits and companies were noticeably presented in different ways.

“It made me think if objective reporting is still possible and what it means to the media as ‘the fourth state.’ This led me to check on discourse studies literature on news reporting about media bias, and I found that bias manifests itself through language, in the way news is reported in different ways,” Gapas elaborated.  The study that Gapas presented at JAECS was his Master’s thesis, which was successfully defended in August 2020 with a grade of Bene meritus as a requirement for his Master of Arts in English Language Studies degree, under his adviser Prof. Rachelle B. Lintao, Ph.D. He is set to graduate this academic year.

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