The A-Mode international conference (Aproaches to Multimodal Digital Environments: from theories to practices) took place at the University of “Tor Vergata” (Rome) from 22th to 24th June 2019. The conference was a great venue to discuss the up-to-date issue of multimodal digital communication and keynote sessions included the participation of our InterGedi colleague Marina Bondi, from Università degli Studi di Modena e Reggia Emilia.
Isabel Corona carried out a communication about how research projects homepages display newsworthiness according to multimodal construction. All in all, the purpose of her study wass to gain insight into the communicative function of this cluster within the research projects’ overall objective of increasing visibility and impact of their work.
What’s news? The multimodal discursive construction of newsworthiness on European research projects homepages
In 2014 the EU launched Horizon 2020, its biggest research and innovation programme ever. The websites of these projects are a crucial means to spread research outputs and increase the projects’ visibility, credibility, and reputation. Homepages, as gateways to the sites, tend to present a layout design that organises content as “a taxonomy of information” (Djonov and Knox 2014: 178), where meaning is packaged into multimodal ‘clusters’ (Baldry and Thibault 2006) which carry out specific functions. High up in the information value system (Kress and van Leeuwen 2006) of these homepages is the pervasive inclusion of the often called news & events section. The multimodal analysis takes a corpus of the news & events section, or cluster, from 20 Horizon 2020 research projects’ homepages and seeks answers to the following research questions: What semiotic resources are used and how is visual and verbal cohesion achieved in this cluster? What content is prioritised, and for what purpose? What is the reality they construe as ‘news’?