In the context of mediation and mass media, discourse refers to the discussion or framing of a particular issue by the media. Essentially; it is the public’s discussion or interaction with a media text, regarded as the ‘cultural activity‘, or the process by which people engage with media texts.
With discourse in media, there is often a preferred meaning encoded within a media text which mediators know we will then decode and process, forming our own opinions based on this preferred meaning or understanding of the given text. This is especially evident in news media which is controlled by a government such as RTÉ where they often promote the views or ‘preferred meanings‘ of the government body in power in Ireland. A good example of this is the Water Charge Protests circa 2015 where protests were ‘egged on’ by the media in order to cause civil disobedience (Kelleher,2017).
To get back to the topic at hand; discourse essentially boils down to the use of language in written and spoken terms, used to connect sentences together and form meanings. Often these discourses have hidden meanings, which I referred to above in relation to RTÉ. Media discourse represents the entire body of news media content, from typed words on a newspaper to the words spoken by newscasters on television and on radio (Kiyani, 2014).
In my own understanding of media discourse; it represents everything, from preferred meanings or preferred understandings to the semiotics within a given text. Discourse is the broad term that denotes the process of constructing content that can be mediated to us for purpose of further discussion by us.
Kelleher, O. 2017. RTÉ ‘went to town’ on water charges protests – Fine Gael TD. The Irish Times. Available from: http://www.irishtimes.com/news/environment/rt%C3%A9-went-to-town-on-water-charges-protests-fine-gael-td-1.2936019 [Accessed March 10, 2017].
Kiyani, H. 2014. Media discourse. Slideshare.net. Available from: https://www.slideshare.net/hifzakiyani5/media-discourse [Accessed March 10, 2017].