Sunday, March 26, 2017

Core Post 4: Week 6: TV + Audiences

What I enjoyed about Andrejevic’s Television Without Pity is the way it heightens this idea of audience participation. It builds the reader up by talking about the power that viewers now have because of websites like TWoP (Television without Pity). Then it gets into the real story, and addresses this as a form of neoliberalism. (30). The viewer is doing the work of media researchers and writers. They are telling them what needs to happen to keep them engaged. This is beneficial not only to writers and the viewers themselves but also media analysts.

 If we go back to Seiter’s, Qualitative Audience Research, Seiter talks about the ways the Mass Communication Researchers failed to take the necessary amount of time to gauge people’s attitudes with media. (463) they want to see a brief reaction to some type of content so, they can relate it to social identity. If these researchers were doing a half a** Job, like the article implies, then the data that they release will affect the way people view different racial and social groups.

Let me give an example. Imagine me as a media researcher looking at the relationship between the social identities of three white women and Legally Blonde. Just leave them in a room, ask no questions and let them watch the movie. Clearly this would not provide me with any sufficient data to begin to understand how this impacts their social identity. They could be fans of Reese Witherspoon or be Harvard Alums. I know this isn’t the best example but follow me. This is not the way to find out about a group of people. Let that sink in…

After reading this article, I watched the Real Housewives of Atlanta. One thing that I would be interested to see, is the ways that ideas about social identity have been formed around African Americans and reality TV. I was reading an article from Atlanta Black titled, 8 TV Shows That Reinforce Negative Stereotypes of Black People ( and it broke down the long list of stereotypes into 5 core ones, The Magical Negro, Black Best Friend, Thugs, Brash Women and Domestics. With so many predominately black reality shows on TV and not many wholesome black programs, I can only imagine the conclusions media researchers have drawn. Some food for thought.

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