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Television as a potential media tool

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PhD Student
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General public
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modern history
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LSE

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  1. Introduction
  2. Review
  3. Conclusion

Current media analysis is highly focused on the perceived failings of television. The medium has been charged with being overly commercial, catering to the interests of political and governmental elite and facilitating the softening of the news by prioritizing stories with high dramatic or entertainment value. While there is truth to many of the traditional criticisms of the current commercial media model, the discussion rarely focuses on the potential contributions of television as an equalizing medium, conveying essential information with relative immediacy to all demographic of the public. In response to modernization and changes to the social structure of society, television ought to be studied as a tool with the potential to enable and engage the public. There is a large division that must be explored between what television currently is and what, if implemented correctly, the medium can be.

Critiques of television and the emerging mass media culture are abundant. Many academics charge the system with polluting the quality of information, catering to societal elites and eliminating diversity of perspectives from the available content. In a particularly critical examination of emerging media culture, The Adorno and Max Horkheimer assert that the culture industry and by extension the new technologies of media such as television rob the viewer of agency. They claim that the power of interpretation lies entirely with the media institution as, there is nothing left for the consumer to classify.

[...] (1987) Television Culture, London: Routledge. Pg. 310 [6] Fiske, J. (1987) Television Culture, London: Routledge. Pg. 66 [7] Hartley, J. (1999) The Uses of Television, London: Routledge. Pg. 36. [8] Dahlgren, P. (1995) Television and the Public Sphere, London: Sage Publications. Pg. 148 [9] Dahlgren, P. (1995) Television and the Public Sphere, London: Sage Publications. Pg. 155 [10] Dahlgren, P. (1995) Television and the Public Sphere, London: Sage Publications. [11] Hartley, J. (1999) The Uses of Television, London: Routledge. Pg. [...]


[...] Television has the potential to be a beneficial public sphere, but this call to action must come from the public itself. There remains a large gap between the current state of television and this idealistic format. In order to achieve the many contributions television could make to the betterment of society and education of the population, the public needs to recognize the power afforded to them within the system. Hartley explains the need for viewer participation in the construction of media practices when he explains: The much popular media doesn't have to ride roughshod over public good and private values, over cultural difference and diversity of identity; the can be used for whatever is wanted. [...]

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