Media events and change- what are we getting access to?

A media event can be defined as “an event that is staged for or exploited by the mass media, whose attention lends it an apparent importance” (Collins Dictionary 2012). Adopting this definition, it is imperative to consider that a media event proposes to attract attention.

In comparison, Michel Foucault’s definition of an event draws on the concept of change, as he states “an event is something that has a beginning and an end. Every human experience, activity, idea and cultural form, can be analysed as an event or a series of events” (Foucault in O’Farrell 2007).

Taking this definition into consideration suggests that events are not ‘static objects’ which reoccur in the same stable environment but instead, occur during particular times in history which continues to redefine itself through change.   Taking this into consideration suggests that events are complex as it is not easy to identify them as they are a part of a continually occurring cycle- every second, of every day, or as Andrew put it in the lecture- they are ‘change changing’.

By combining these two definitions, we are able to determine that:

a) Media events stand as examples of change.

b) It is the media who draw our attention to media events.

As Murphie quoted Wark in the lecture, events are “singular irruptions into the regular flow of media” ( Wark in Murphie 2013). Therefore, making the role of the media to then recognise particular events which are deemed ‘valuable’ and ‘newsworthy’, and then, report or broadcast them to the audience. As a consequence, it is through the media we are receiving access to these media events and in turn, identifying change and recognising a definitive moment in history.

But this isn’t necessarily good. While the media act as gate-keepers filtering information and sometimes, helping us distinguish between important and irrelevant information, we must question why we are presented with  particular events and not others. In turn, why is the media prioritising this? For instance, why is the media reporting the event of a tornado in America and not a landslide that occurred in Columbia?

Although social media has helped us by providing us with access to more information, such as video footage of a bombing in the Middle East not aired on mainstream broadcast media, is it enough? Are we still dictated by traditional media outlets prioritising our care values?

Is our access to ‘media events’ wide enough?

List of References

Andrew Murphie,  Seminar on 6 March 2013, Introduction to the Course: What is a Media Event? What are cultural and social change? How are we exploring these in this course?.

Clare O’Farrell, 2007,’Concepts’ in Michel Foucault, <; , accessed 11 March 2013.

Collins Dictionary, ‘Media Event’ in Collins, 2012, <; , accessed 1 May 2013.

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