The SAGE Key Concepts series provide students with accessible and authoritative knowledge of the essential topics in a variety of disciplines. Cross-referenced throughout, the format encourages critical evaluation through understanding. Written by experienced and respected academics, the books are indispensable study aids and guides to comprehension. Key Concepts in Journalism offers a systematic and accessible introduction to the terms, processes, and effects of journalism;a combination of practical considerations with theoretical issues; and further reading suggestions. The authors bring an enormous range of experience in newspaper and broadcast journalism, at national and regional level, as well as their teaching expertise. This book will be essential reading for students in journalism, and an invaluable reference tool for their professional careers.


One of Charles Peirce's three categories of sign, an icon is a sign which is determined by what it represents. In general, words not only appear dissimilar to what they represent, the relationship between a word and what it refers to (or what it means) is arbitrary. In contrast, an icon ‘possesses some of the properties of the thing represented’ (Peirce (1939) cited in Hall, 1980: 55). For example: the word ‘cow’ ‘possesses none of the properties of the thing represented, whereas the visual sign [for example, a photograph of a cow] appears to possess some of those properties’ (Hall, 1980: 56). Television images are iconic; so too, though to a lesser extent, are onomatopoeic words like ‘buzz’ or ‘mumble’.

Further Reading
Hall, S. (1980) ‘Encoding/Decoding’, ...
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