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In the article, “Democratizing Television? The Politics of Participation,” author Henry Jenkins gives sight to how the public’s participation in television production has changed political media. Perhaps one of the most influential innovations for this type of mass media is, “Current,” a cable news network that Albert Gore launched in 2005 so that young people could participate as citizen journalists in the “production, selection, and distribution” of the network’s programming. (Jenkins 277) Still, Jenkins questions whether Gore truly intended to hand over the means of production to the public or use this form of media to further democratic ends. (278) But, Gore claimed that even though his television network may not be perfect, it let him put his belief that “enabling audience-generated content had the potential to diversify civic discourse” into practice. Current, along with the web services, partipatoryculture.org, ourmedia.org, and blogging, allow media makers to gain publicity in the web, without owing any money to wealthy network owners. However, Jenkins points out that even with public involvement in t.v. production, that mass media is far too concentrated to fully address the public’s relationship to popular culture, and often side with those “opposed to a more diverse and participatory culture.” A concentrated mass creates a large drawback for the public to reach a more democratic medium that Gore and web services intend for.
Although television production could be more democratic, there have been many noteworthy advances in the industry both recently and since the second half on the twentieth century. For instance, one recent progression is the shift from satellite and cable television to online television. Unlike satellite and cable, which requires a monthly t.v. plan, people can watch online videos simply if they have wifi. Also, online streaming allows people to watch limited advertisements or skip them altogether, which is only possible with cable and satellite with a prepurchased plan like TVO. http://www.internetserviceproviders.com/blog/2013/01/29/cable-tv-satellite-tv-and-online-tv-advantages-and-disadvantages/ In the article, “Online video Finally Chipping Away At Broadcast TV,” author Stacey Higginbotham points out the social opporuntities that online t.v. provides. She states, “people like their television content more when they can comment on it with friends. And people are certainly watching their TV while engaging on Twitter, Facebook and other networks as the following chart shows.” http://gigaom.com/2011/09/02/online-video-finally-chipping-away-at-broadcast-tv/Though satellite and cable television don’t provide convenience of limited advertising and social connections that online videos do, it still has progressed since the 1960s. For instance, in 1967, the Corporation for Broadcasting was established, making public t.v. the most watched channels. Now, however, cable and HBO television shows override public television as the most watched. Additionally, in the 1960s, “one third of all network programs were taped, a third were filmed, and the remaining shows were produced live.” Today, we have a wider range of what we can watch, like almost any sporting event, meaning more television is aired live. In the 1970s, CBS canceled shows that they considered, “rural,” and “unsophisticated,” such as The Beverly Hillbillies and Green Acres. http://www.emmytvlegends.org/resources/tv-history In contrast, it doesn’t seem a concern for t.v. broadcasting networks to provide viewers with sophisticated shows, as reality television, perhaps the most trendy television genre, has a reputation for its crudity and profanity. This dominance in reality television also is a major difference from 1980s t.v., as it this decade was known as “the golden age for primetime soap operas,” and includes the soap opera series: Dynasty, Falcon Crest, and Knots Landing. http://eightiesclub.tripod.com/id13.htm
Social media sites like YouTube definitely help enhance participation and democracy, as it gives the public the opportunity to share anything and everything about their lives. Allowing everyone equal chance to broadcast video, not soley large network corporations, creates a more diverse world of television.