For years, journalism was the solitary source that determined how we understood the world around us. However, this is no longer the case. With the ever-increasing rise and birth of new technologies, journalism has become just one of the facets that moulds public perspective of society and culture. The advent of social media particularly, has had an effect on what is considered journalism and what isn’t. In conjunction with this, in many instances, it is now entertainment media which underpins and forms public opinion regarding political issues.
In Berkowitz’s article ‘Journalism in the broader cultural mediascape’, he outlines a shift in journalism’s role and discusses the implications this has had on society in general (2009). He suggests that the lines between “news, analysis, opinion and entertainment” have become increasingly blurred and proposes that popular culture and journalism have merged (p. 290). Indeed, we can see examples of this in contemporary entertainment media. For example, the television series Modern Family deals, not only with issues of the dysfunctional family but also notions of equality and gay rights. By dealing with these issues in a comical manner, the show reinforces the normalcy of same-sex relationships and elucidates the importance of equal rights while the media is abuzz with journalism regarding these same issues.
Similarly, McGuigan (2005) identifies a shift from Habermas’ literary public sphere into the cultural public sphere. He defines the cultural public sphere as “the articulation of politics, public and personal, as a contested terrain through affective (aesthetic and emotional) modes of communication)”. McGuigan suggests that it is through entertainment such as soap operas, reality television and celebrity scandal, that much of public opinion regarding political issues is informed.
By looking at ideas from both Berkowitz and McGuigan’s texts, we can see that there has been a blending of the boundaries between journalism and popular culture. What was once deemed entertainment, now manifests journalistic value and plays a role in the debate of current political issues in the public sphere.
McGuigan, J 2005, ‘The cultural public sphere’, European Journal of Cultural Studies, Vol. 8, Iss. 4, pp. 427-443
Berkowitz, D 2009, ‘Journalism in the broader cultural mediascape’, Journalism, Vol. 10. Iss. 3, pp. 290-292