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Authenticity as a Currency - Negotiations of Trust in the Media

Key note at MEVI16 in Helsinki 9 April 2016. Professor in Media Studies Gunn Enli, Dep. of Media and Communication, University of Oslo. Talk based on the book 'Mediated Authenticity: How the Media Constructs Reality' (Peter Lang, 2015)

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Authenticity as a Currency - Negotiations of Trust in the Media

  1. 1. Authenticity as a Currency Negotiations of Trust in Broadcast and Digital Media Key Note MEVI 16 Helsinki, 9 April 2016 Gunn Enli, Professor Department of Media and Communication University of Oslo @gunnen
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  3. 3. 3 > ‘Authenticity’ in Academic Studies ü  Philosophy ü  Phycology ü  Sociology ü  Art history ü  Tourism studies ü  Music studies ü  Anthropology Department of Media and Communication
  4. 4. 4 > Mediated Authenticity Authenticity in the context of the media is a communicative process. The degree of authenticity depends on symbolic negotiations between the main participants in the communication. Department of Media and Communication
  5. 5. 5 > The Paradox Although we base most of our knowledge about the world on mediated representations of reality, we are aware that the media are constructed, manipulated, and even faked. Department of Media and Communication
  6. 6. 6 > The Authenticity Contract v  Function: Compensates for the void - the missing link - between sender and receiver in mediated communication. v  Stakeholders: Producers, audiences, and regulatory authorities. v  Expectations: The genre system, established norms. v  Irrationality: ‘Suspension of disbelief’, we want to believe. Department of Media and Communication
  7. 7. 7 > Authenticity Scandals v  When the agreement collapses; contract is broken. v  Miscommunication; deceptions beyond the accepted level. v  Miscalculated (mass) audiences ‘media literacy’ Department of Media and Communication
  8. 8. 8 > 7 Ways to Construct Authenticity 1. Predictability 2. Spontaneity 3. Immediacy 4. Confessions 5. Ordinariness 6. Ambivalence 7. Imperfection Department of Media and Communication
  9. 9. 9 > 1. Predictability q Storytelling: ‘Barack means blessed’ q Repeating phrases: Bush - Mr. Consistency q Breaking the rules: Trump - Predictable chaos
  10. 10. 10 > 2. Spontaneity q  Unscripted or unplanned (errors, in a hurry) q  Uncontrolled emotions (anger, tears, insults) q  Personal autonomy and breaking social norms (‘a true inner self’). Department of Media and Communication
  11. 11. 11 > 3. Immediacy q  Create a shared experience with the public, as if you were present in the same room. q  Use personal pronoun and address the public directly and construct a ‘liveness’. q  About Franklin D Roosevelt’s Fireside Chats: “I never saw him—but I knew him. Can you have forgotten how, with his voice, he came into our house, the President of these United States, calling us friends…?” (Carl Carmer, April 14, 1945) Department of Media and Communication
  12. 12. 12 > 4. Confessions q Stories about childhood, poor background (autobiographies). q Confessing to rumors can build an image as authentic (secrets). q Tell parts of the story, but adjust major parts (half-truths). Department of Media and Communication
  13. 13. 13 > 5. Ordinariness Department of Media and Communication q Everyday people. q Down-to-earth.
  14. 14. 14 > 6. Ambivalence q Admit to the complexity and share your doubts q Come across as open to various solutions q Seem relaxed and unpolished Department of Media and Communication
  15. 15. 15 > 7. Imperfection Department of Media and Communication q Display selected personal weaknesses or imperfections. q Makes the politician/celebrity/personality seem authentic. q The imperfections might be real or staged.
  16. 16. 16 > Main Points q Mediated authenticity is constructed through negotiations. q The ‘authenticity contract’ is renegotiated with every new media technology, and new hybrid genre. q Authenticity in the media is constructed by a set of strategies. Department of Media and Communication
  17. 17. 17 > Thank you! Department of Media and Communication Professor Gunn Enli, Department of Media and Communications, University of Oslo gunn.enli@media.uio.no @gunnen “Sincerity - if you can fake that, you've got it made.” (George Burns)

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