Media-Created Storylines – Michael Chen

Part of my final project (“Gallery Fire”) addressed the idea of storylines of an event not merely “reported on” or “covered by”, but created by the media.  Traditionally, news media is regarded as taking what is already there and packaging into a form that allows the public to digest it, while making money for advertisers at the same time.  The stories are “news” in a sense that they’re fresh, but they all actually happen.  A new idea, however, has emerged- instead of the media reporting on stories, it creates them.

This idea is raised to some extent in Thomas Keenan’s article “Publicity and Indifference: Media, Surveillance, and ‘Humanitarian Intervention'”, which I have linked below.   The article discusses the conflict in Kosovo and how the various events were covered in, and handled by, the media.  Events ranged from civilians being shot by snipers to soldiers ignoring the plight of injured civilians.

This seems like news one normally hears about in today’s world, but Keenan contends that these events became news not because they are considered “newsworthy”, but because of the presence of the photographers, videographers, and reporters.  News cannot be recorded and broadcast to the world if no one is there to see it and capture the moment; therefore, the stories seen in news media are in some way “created” by the presence and actions of media organizations- or so says Keenan.

http://www.bard.edu/hrp/resource_pdfs/keenan.publicity.pdf

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