Ordinary People and the Media: The Demotic Turn
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
The "demotic turn" is a term coined by Graeme Turner to describe the increasing visibility of the "ordinary person" in the media today. In this dynamic and insightful book he explores the "whys" and "hows" of the "everyday" individual’s willingness to turn themselves into media content through celebrity culture, reality TV, DIY websites, talk radio, and user-generated materials online.
Analyzing the pervasiveness of celebrity culture, this book further develops the idea of the demotic turn as a means of examining the common elements in a range of ‘hot spots’ within media and cultural studies today.
elements on the web, such as Sony’s ‘Dawson’s Desk’ and ‘Rachel’s Room’ sites, encouraging audiences literally to write themselves into the narrative. (2008: 114) Such activity is part of the trend towards what Hartley calls ‘democratainment’ (1999: Chapters 12 and 14; see also Hartley, 2008: 122–4) – literally, the democratization of entertainment. This has been an influential formulation. Versions or adaptations of this idea have become relatively standard features of media and 45
of the journalist. The generation gap the research reveals reminds us also that blogs, user-generated content and the like, are evolving practices with a long way yet to run before their role and significance can be confidently understood. The hyperbolic claims made by their advocates have not done these new developments any favours; the predictions used to boost their importance were always likely to overstate what could eventually be achieved. While there is certainly strong evidence that the
Turner-3918-CH-03:Giulianotti-3852-Ch-01.qxp.qxp 10/09/2009 2:28 PM Page 97 Redefining Journalism 7 It should be acknowledged that the format of the political blog can vary significantly. There are political blogs built solely around the posts from their host commentator or pundit (Iain Dale’s Diary in the UK, for instance, or Andrew Bolt in Australia), there are others which work very much like a newspaper (Crikey.com in Australia, for instance, or the USA’s Huffington Post which actually
inverted here. Indeed, one of the early accounts of the format is entitled ‘Tuning in to hate’ (Mattussek, 1995), highlighting the fact that utterances aimed at denigrating, intimidating, and inciting hatred and even violence against groups of people on the basis of their sexuality, ‘race’, ethnicity, gender, political views, and so on, had become routine 116 Turner-3918-CH-04:Giulianotti-3852-Ch-01.qxp.qxp 10/09/2009 2:29 PM Page 117 Talk Radio components of populist discourse within talk
entertainment. Turner-3918-CH-06:Giulianotti-3852-Ch-01.qxp.qxp 10/09/2009 2:30 PM Page 159 The Entertainment Age Within such a process, at its most pronounced, the traditional ‘objective’ news format gives way to FOX News, where the brandishing of opinion serves as a means of attracting notoriety, controversy and audiences. To some extent, of course, and not to overstate the situation, such a strategy has always been there – we have had ‘weather girls’ bringing us the weather reports and