This volume of collected essays provides a wide-ranging survey of the state of radio and television, especially the idea of public service broadcasting, and of news, current affairs and documentary programming in America, Australia, the UK and the rest of western Europe. Among the key issues it addresses are the 'dumbing down' of TV news, the infotainment factor in current affairs shows and the disappearance of the documentary. Using contemporary cases and examples - from the row over the scheduling of News at Ten in the UK to the creation of ABC News Online in Australia -- the essays link the performance of radio and television at the turn of the millennium with the processes of deregulation, liberalisation and digitalisation which have been evident since the 1980s.
Working from a much needed and original comparative approach which encompasses complex and well-established public broadcasting in the USA as well as emerging and vulnerable participatory radio stations in El Salvador, the book sets a variety of experiences of factual radio and television programming within wider political and cultural contexts. It offers analyses of not only the 'problems' associated with news, current affairs and documentary broadcasting in an era of a declining public service ethos and the apparent triumph of the market, however. The essays also explore the potential of alternative radio and television, new forms of communication, such as the internet, and changing practices among journalists and programme makers, as well as the resilience of public broadcasting and the powers of the public to ensure that the media remain relevant and accountable.
A companion text to the bestselling Sex, Lies and Democracy: The Press and the Public, this volume presents a multi-faceted approach to the tumultuous present and the uncertain future of news, current affairs and documentary in radio and television.
Part I: Public Service and Private Interests 1. Demise or renewal? The dilemma of public service to television in western Europe Kevin Williams 2. The decline of public service broadcasting in the UK 1979-2000 Tom O'Malley 3. Sold out: Recent shifts in television news and current affairs in Australia Graeme Turner Part II: Production of Journalism Genres 4. Television news and citizenship: Packaging the public sphere Simon Cottle 5. Authority and authenticity: Redefining television current affairs Patricia Holland 6. 10pm and all that: The battle over UK TV news Howard Tumber 7. British and American television documentaries Carol Nahra Part III: Problems of Accountability 8. Reporting changing democracy: Commercial radio and news in the UK of regions and nations Michael Bromley 9. Who listens to radio? The role of industrial audience research Jo Tacchi 10. How broadcast journalism training in the UK is adapting to industry changes Heather Purdey 11. Public relations and broadcast news: An evolutionary approach Brian McNair Part IV: Publics, Protests and Participation 12. Outraged onlookers or influential voices? The role of lobby and pressure groups in the UK and USA Granville Williams 13. What have you done for us lately? Public service broadcasting and its audiences Anne Dunn 14. Alternative radio and television in South Dakota: A place study of public service electronic media in the US Warren Bareiss 15. Participatory community radios building civil society in post-war El Salvador Diane Agosta Index