Watching Television Essay

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Readings:

1.) Thompson, Ethan and Jason Mittell. 2013. “Introduction: An Owner’s Manual for Television.” Pp. 1-9 in How to Watch Television, edited by Ethan Thompson and Jason Mittell. New York: New York University Press.

2.) Ryan, Maureen. 2007. “Plot Is the Candy Coating: Scratch the Surfaceon a TV Show, You Can Find a Hero’s Journey or a Treatise on Government.” Chicago Tribune, August 18.

3.) Newcomb, Horace and Paul Hirsch. 1983. “Television as a Cultural Forum: Implications for Research.” Quarterly Review of Film Studies8(3): 39-55.

4.) Livingstone, Sonia. “On the Mediation of Everything: ICA PresidentialAddress 2008.” Journal of Communication 59(1): 1-18.

Reading Log consists of TWO parts, “a” and “b.” Devote one page to each part.

  1. After reading Thompson and Mittell’s “Owner’s Manual” and MaureenRyan’s “Plot Is the Candy Coating,” briefly describe the ways in which you watch television – not on which devices – but, instead, the analytical perspective you bring to what you view. In other words, discuss briefly the ways in which your personal point of view informs how you engage the programming you watch. How does Maureen Ryan’s insight about the superficiality of plot broaden the ways in which television can be understood as a cultural product?
  2. Newcomb and Hirsch’s foundational argument is not only that televisionis a cultural forum, but why it is regarded as such. Discuss how Sonia Livingstone’s concepts of mediation and mediatization can enrich Newcomb and Hirsch’s concept of TV as a cultural forum. 

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