Media  Ethics And The  Public  Sphere 2009 10
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Media Ethics And The Public Sphere 2009 10



Slides used in MAC373 Week 3

Slides used in MAC373 Week 3



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Media Ethics And The Public Sphere 2009 10 Presentation Transcript

  • 1. MAC373 [email_address]
  • 2. Where do you stand?
    • What does it mean to be a journalist?
    • What is the point of journalism?
    • Who are journalists responsible to?
    • What forms should/could journalism take?
  • 3. The Flat Earth effect
    • The news factory and churnalism
    • Lament about contemporary journalism
    • Impact on public awareness/engagement/opinion
      • Sets the shape of news landscape
      • Shapes public awareness of issues
  • 4. The Flat Earth effect
    • The journalist as mediator of public knowledge
    • Journalist as conduit of public opinion
    • Journalism crucial to democracy?
  • 5. Evidence for Flat Earth News:
    • Justin Lewis, Andrew Williams & Bob Franklin, 2008, ‘Four Rumours and an Explanation: A political economic account of journalists’ changing newsgathering and reporting practices’, Journalism Practice , Vol 2, No 1.
    • Justin Lewis, Andrew Williams, Bob Franklin, James Thomas and Nick Mosdell, 2006, The Quality and Independence of British Journalism , commissioned report for the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust
  • 6. The construction of the political public
    • Where are the ancient Greeks?
      • The polis : open to free citizens
    • Jürgen Habermas – The public sphere
      • “ a realm of our social life in which something approaching public opinion can be formed”
  • 7. An operational public sphere requires…
    • A knowable civic authority
    • A gathering of rational individuals
    • A means of communicating public opinion to the civic authority
    • Journalists and media act as ‘public organs’
  • 8. One way of representing the public in the media…
    • The public inquisitor: the (wo)man for the people?
      • Kirsty Wark
      • John Humphrys
      • Jeremy Paxman
      • Jon Snow
  • 9. The Public Inquisitor
    • Acts on behalf of the media institution
    • Acts on behalf of the public at large
    • Carries “celebrity” cache
    • Have come to act as social commentators
    Paxman versus Howard May 13 th 1997
  • 10. A question of balance…
    • Broadcast news content required to demonstrate ‘due impartiality’ under Section 5 of the Ofcom Broadcasting Code
    • Davies claims this pursuit of balance dilutes news and acts as a ‘coward’s compromise’ (2008: 133)
    • 61% of public think the BBC should be free to hold political views ( Guardian / ICM 2009)
  • 11. Due impartiality
    • Impartiality itself means not favouring one side over another.
    • “ Due” means adequate or appropriate to the subject and nature of the programme.
    • Helps deflect over-emphasis on extreme minority groups
  • 12. Another way of representing the public in the media…
    • The political public in action … BBC’s Question Time
  • 13.
  • 14. The arrangement of Question Time as an instrument of democratic debate
    • The panel as representatives of positions across the “political spectrum”
    • The audience as representatives of public interest and concern
  • 15. The discursive management of Question Time
    • Chairperson and production team act as agenda setters and arbiters of legitimacy and truth
      • Chair adjudicates on the extent and suitability of panel responses
    • Chair adjudicates on admissibility of audience questions according to the established agenda
  • 16. The public sphere and media conduct
    • To what extent does participation in the public sphere empower both journalists and other citizens?
    • Should our treatment of individuals be on the basis of their being rational subjects or their being naïve, potential victims of media/journalistic expertise?
    • Does this form of engagement qualify as journalism/news?
    • Should journalism be rational, emotional or opinionated?
  • 17. Some points to consider
    • Televised election?
    • BNP on Question Time (October 22 nd )?
    • What is the public interest here?
    • What format should these event take?
    • How should balance be handled?
  • 18. Direct public engagement
    • Guardian/Trafigura/Farrelly gagging order (Oct 12 2009)
  • 19. Direct public engagement
    • Streisand effect – networked amplification
  • 20. Real time news
  • 21. Real time news
  • 22. Real time news
  • 23. Hyper-local public spheres ?
  • 24. Variants: The popular public sphere
    • The public sphere operates as a component of the formal political realm
    • The participatory element of the public sphere can be used in other media contexts
  • 25. The media and participation
    • Media principles and ethics founded on the basis of a particular form of ‘public’
    • Participation (interaction) has become a selling point in itself, recasting the public as consumers
    • The emerging participatory sphere therefore meets the need of the media
  • 26. The Media Sphere
    • “ Through a combination of the market and audience demand, the media becomes a space for public participation and discussion outside of the political realm, which nonetheless has political and cultural consequences”
      • John Hartley (1996) Popular journalism for the term ‘media sphere’ itself
  • 27. The reaction of the theorists
    • Serious political insight requires we look at popular culture as well as high culture
    • Post-Gramsci (The Prison Notebooks , 1971)
  • 28. Forms of participation
    • The telethon (Children in Need, Live 8)
    • The telephone vote (Big Brother, I’m a Celebrity)
    • The radio phone-in (Radio 5 Live)
    • The talk show:
      • Public discussion (Kilroy, Donaghue, Vanessa’s Real Lives)
      • Therapeutic (Oprah)
      • Conflict (Jerry Springer)
  • 29. The “Popular” Public – Nightmares with Trisha and Jerry
  • 30. The “Popular” Public – Nightmares with Trisha and Jerry
    • “ Western man has become a confessing animal”
    • Michel Foucault, The History of Sexuality , Volume 1, p. 59
  • 31. The “Popular Public – Nightmares with Trisha and Jerry
    • Confession is a means of reproducing moral subjects.
    • Sex has become part of a moral discourse.
    • Confession has moved from the private realm to public spectacle.
  • 32. The “Popular” Public – expertise, management and power
    • Jürgen Habermas (1987) The philosophical discourse of modernity :
      • There has emerged a historically constructed division between “common knowledge” and “scientific rationality”.
      • Accordingly, within popular forms of discourse, scientific or rational forms are sustained through recourse to authority.
  • 33. The “Popular” Public – expertise, management and power
    • Livingstone and Lunt (1994) Talk on television
      • Popular discussion shows have situated these forms of knowledge together, presenting them (inappropriately) as having an equal claim to legitimacy.
  • 34. The “Popular” Public – expertise, management and power
    • Speakers invited to contribute within the frame of an editorial narrative.
    • Questioning of speakers seeks to contain them within an established agenda, and seeks to encourage them to contribute to that agenda.
  • 35. The “Popular” Public – expertise, management and power
    • The place of speakers on the floor is protected by the host.
    • Speakers are invited to speak on behalf of institutions and disciplines, but their contributions are summarised misrepresented and placed in conflict with the available “lay” discourses.
  • 36. A new ethics of the “popular”
    • The emergence of an alternative frame of public service
    • The stress on emotionality and therapeutic forms
    • Peter Lunt and Paul Stenner (2005) “The Jerry Springer Show as an emotional public sphere”, Media, Culture & Society 27(1): 59-81.
  • 37. Questions
    • Are talk shows sufficiently free from institutional control to serve as a space where public opinion can be formed?
    • Do they provide freedom of access and voice to the public?
    • Are they constituted on the grounds of a rational disinterested populace seeking consensus?
    • Does this qualify as journalism?
  • 38. The “Popular” Public – discussion points
    • Is the popular public participation programme a legitimate form of public sphere?
    • Is the emphasis on programmes such as Trisha on spectacle and televisuality rather than constructive and informative discussion?
    • Discuss the political and cultural implications of the forms of subjectivity generated in programmes such as Springer and Trisha .