The interpretive mediation of social worlds: Intention markers in news headlines

Mia Schreiber*, Zohar Kampf

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


This study examines the prevalence of intention markers in political news headlines and the types of markers applied by news practitioners to mediate public affairs. Using a corpus of 1,138,015 headlines from six leading newspapers in the US and the UK, we point to the frequency and discursive functions of intention markers in news headlines. The findings show that (1) around one quarter of all headlines include intention markers, led by markers that represent intentions to assert something about public affairs, warn readers about risks and challenges, and accuse public actors; (2) intention markers assist the construction of negativity in news reports; (3) and in the vast majority of the headlines (96.52%), they are used from the mediators’ perspective to summarize what the quoted sources meant by what they said. We conclude by discussing journalistic authority over the reported text, suggesting that the use of intention markers allows news practitioners to both glean meaning from and give sense to newsworthy actions and events.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)189-200
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Pragmatics
StatePublished - May 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Elsevier B.V.


  • Content analysis
  • Intention markers
  • Journalistic interpretation
  • News headlines
  • News practitioners
  • Speech acts


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