Bears and Bulls on Wall Street: Ethical Considerations in the use of metaphor in stock market reporting


Thursday, September 29, 2016, 11:30am to 12:30pm


RCC Main Seminar Room, 26 Trowbridge St., Cambridge MA

RCC is pleased to announce this talk by Michael O'Mara Shimek, Professor at Boston University and RCC Fellow.


Metaphor shapes the way we perceive phenomena and news events reported on in the media by providing mental paradigms with their own internal systems of logic and reasoning. More than thirty years of research in Cognitive Linguistics has explored how metaphor can influence our beliefs and attitudes and how it can impact our behaviors in everyday situations. Metaphor provides solutions to the problems it helps to describe through the very means they are presented. 

However, it appears that news media organizations along with other journalism associations largely do not take into consideration metaphor's potential. At present, only one major news organization provides a brief mention of metaphor. This comes as many news media companies declare and defend principles and ideals of journalism practice such as truthfulness, objectivity and balance; some even specify best practices such as attribution, mandatory referrals, fact checking, etc.

This presentation focuses on how metaphor influences the perception of stock market events and investor behavior and how core journalism ideals can be furthered using advances from Cognitive Linguistics towards a more ethical use of metaphor and thus a more ethical financial journalism particularly in crisis scenarios. 


Michael O'Mara Shimek, PhD, is a Lecturer in the Writing Program at Boston University. His research focuses on how metaphor can be used to improve the ethical quality of financial and other news media reporting. 

He has studied how the stock market crash of 2008 was represented along ideological lines in major online news sources in the United States and its impact on the decision making process of private individuals.

Dr. O'Mara Shimek has published in journals such as Discourse & Communication, Business Ethics: A European Review and the Journal of Applied Journalism and Media Studies. In 2011, he was appointed Sworn Translator and Interpreter of English and Spanish by the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation.

This event is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served.

Sponsor: RCC