Recycling Old TV by Jiri Hodan
A great deal of research went into my paper for Research Methods class. I visited the Ryerson Library after encountering some frustration with the on-line resources available. A number of books looked like they might have material on the topic but I was only able to take the Robert Kolker book out called “Media Studies: An Introduction”. The books I really wanted, “Television Studies After TV” by Graeme Turner and “Television and American Culture” by Jason Mittel were already signed out (I was able to get this last one eventually and found it an excellent resource). I took out the third edition of “Media Scapes” for two hours to photocopy and I found three good essays in it. I didn’t end up using any of them for this assignment. Frustrated with my lack of resources, I went to Brock University in St. Catharines. I found a couple of great books. Henry Jenkins’ “Convergence Culture”, Amanda Lotz’s “The Television Will Be Revolutionized”, John Sinclair’s “Contemporary World Television” and Editor, Lynn Spigel’s “Television After TV.” I couldn’t believe my luck. The Brock students must have been doing mid-term exams instead of essays. Every book I wanted was available. I even found an article by a theorist whose work I have been interested in. David Morley has an article published about the Politics of Location called, “At Home With Television.” It appeared in Lynn Spigel’s book, “Television After TV”. It had a global and historical perspective that I felt was too broad for my essay about everyday life.
I took copies of the parts I needed and got out my highlighter to get a good idea of all the main points.
I knew I wanted to write about media convergence and how that may have changed television for the viewer. I was surprised to find some authors talking about television as an interactive medium in creating on-line communities from TV shows. That got me thinking about the day Damion Nurse showed us what Global was doing online with the show, “Da kink in my hair”. It struck me that the Joycam was familiar in the way that many of us create our own vlogs to post online. The show was making a connection with viewers by playing an everyday role. I also started to think about how clever MTV is for getting viewers back into co-viewing by airing an audience participatory show that airs live right after the show, “The Hills”.
During my reading I encountered a real sense of snobbery from the British media theorists who really put down commercial broadcasters by describing North American viewers as customers of service. A pompous tone of “social responsibility” was entwined in any talk of the use of British public television. It made me realize it was necessary to look more to the American theorists for my material as their perspective would be heavily geared towards the more prevalent private broadcasters than public in North America. (John Sinclair take an air of superiority)
I enjoyed Anna McCarthy’s article about the television in public space with its installation in waiting rooms. It reminded me of a trip I had to my own doctor’s office in which TV sets were visible in public spaces. I never felt they were intrusive and was happy for the distraction while waiting. I felt that talking about how television has squeezed into new public space was important to show how its use has changed in every day life and in this way, it is more pervasive.
I also found some work from William Uricchio about “Flow” that I enjoyed. The transference of direct control of flow from programmers to the audience actively selecting content with its own “flow”.
I found it difficult to write this essay. I knew what points I wanted to make just by what struck me most in the readings. Stylistically, it was different than the essays I am accustomed to. Although there was greater freedom in the flow from point to point, I tried to go back and check that I had included proof, and comment for each Point and where possible, draw from my own observations of the mediums. As well, although I wanted to focus on the audience, I knew I had to include the industry’s involvement and statistics in order to put the focus in the proper context.