National discourse refers to forms of communication that occur at a national level, though it can also be used to indicate topics and subjects that are considered of national importance. Different types of national discourse can take just about as many forms as communication in general, though certain methods are more prominent than others. Verbal forms of expression can range from face-to-face contact between individuals at a national political debate, to large-scale events like rallies. There are additional forms of verbal communication that take place on television, such as news broadcasts and press conferences that provide information and outlets for ideas.
With the development of the Internet at the end of the 20th Century, non-verbal forms of national discourse have become increasingly important, including the use of Internet news sites and email communications. Many of the most common methods of expression at this level are through verbal means of communication. Political debates and rallies, for example, are large events that can be nationally televised so that most citizens of a country can be witness to them. Discussions and ideas expressed at these types of events are often part of the discourse and can be further considered and explored by citizens of a country for weeks afterward.
The proliferation of television sets throughout many countries in the world throughout the 20th Century has also changed the way national discourse occurs. Weekly or nightly news broadcasts are used by many people as a way to learn about what is going on in the world and in their country. The comments and opinions of broadcasters can have a tremendous influence on the national discourse in a country, since these ideas are received by thousands or millions of people. Press conferences and public addresses are often broadcast over television to ensure as large an audience as possible is witness to them, since such talks are usually of national importance.
As the Internet has become increasingly popular and accessible, it has also developed a place within the national discourse of many countries. Communication over the Internet, however, can take many different forms and is as likely to be in text as it is in recorded audio and video. Blogs and social networking sites have become a hotbed of conversation and discourse for many people who find the freedom of the Internet to be a natural forum for discussing political issues. Email communications have made the distribution of ideas even faster and easier. Video hosting sites have also allowed the Internet to fill many of the functions previously provided only by television news broadcasts.