The question of reality is an ancient (and puzzling) philosophical issue that haunts the study of modern media. Don’t the media (television especially) somehow distort or falsify reality? Take news for instance: doesn’t TV news inevitably present a selective (unbalanced, biased) account of what’s really going on in the world? What is the relationship between the real world, real life, real people (and what do we mean by these terms?) and the ways in which they are presented in television output? It is a key feature of television output that a lot of it is factual (unlike cinema whose output is mostly fictional): news, sport, documentary, talk shows, people programs and now ‘reality’ shows. The purpose of the course is to investigate the complex ways in which reality is presented across a range of television program genres with these questions in mind: real—or not? True—or not? How does television produce its reality effect? Can we, do we believe what we see? And why: or why not?
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Communication Studies Juniors and seniors.
Recitation twice weekly for 1.5 hours each.