Left and right in TV news images in Japan and the UK

The configuration of reporter (R), camera operator (C) and interviewee (I). The configuration shown on the right illustrates how the camera blocks this channel if the positions of R and C are inverted.


Directional preferences in moving images are primarily theorized as deriving from cultural’ factors, principally the dominant language’s reading/writing direction. This study examines the origins of this notion and positions it within recent analytical thinking. In order to expand the context of analysis it draws in research from neurology and practical knowledge of typical production tools. Two manifestations of directionality — camera panning movements (pans) and soundbite gaze direction — are compared, data is drawn from two countries, Japan and the UK, where directional conventions may differ. Results suggest there is a limited degree of support for the hypothesis that reading/writing direction is linked to directional preferences in television news image creation, but the processes involved may be subconscious rather than conscious and analysts should therefore be wary of attributing semiotic significance to these variations, of over-reading’ manifestations of directionality in news images. (Koga-Browes, 2021)

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Koga-Browes, S. P. (2021). Left and right in TV news images in Japan and the UK. Ritsumeikan Annual Review of International Studies, 20, 33–55.

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