The truth is, that none of these programmes accurately reflect reality.
A newscast story or documentary is never entirely objective. It may contain slant or bias; it may only show one aspect of an issue; and it invariably contains dozens of arbitrary decisions.
Also, the types of stories that make the news - the "if it bleeds it leads" approach - do not create a well-rounded picture of events as they occur in real life.
"Reality-based" crime programmes are edited, contain re-enactments, and offer only the more sensational aspects of policing.
The purpose of ‘reality’ dramas is to convey the idea of the ‘real’ Police at work in the neighbourhoods with which we are more familiar. Does this make them more ‘real’ than a more obviously constructed product such as Life on Mars or The Bill ? Are the people who appear in this more real because they are actual Police rather than constructed characters – played by actors? Does the programme not create ‘characters’ by positive or negative reinforcement of personalities through the editing?
Key points to consider when analysing representations:
What is being represented?
How is it being represented?
Who is responsible for the representation?
How can the representation be interpreted?
1. What is represented? Consider the information the text gives you about subject matter, place and characters. 2. How is it being represented? Consider how the technical elements have suggested this information.
3. Who is responsible for the representation? Consider the producers and the institutions responsible for production. What agenda do the producers have? Why would they want to represent things in a certain way? (Think about target audience, genre, commercial aspect or artistic expression, etc.) 4. What does the audience make of it? Taking all of the above into account what might the audience response be? Don’t forget to consider different types of audience and the different responses.
Lily Allen Consider the 4 points on representation above for the 2 different images of Lily Allen.