Posted by: richardlp | November 3, 2015

Audience Participation and Perception

During last night’s discussion about the ways in which social media can affect a person’s perception of (and participation in) a particular issue, I thought of the Serial podcast. The format of the show, as its title implies, hearkens back to the days of serialized literature, and as a result every episode leaves its listener wanting more information. This encourages the listener not only to tune in to the next episode, but also to take to the internet and perform supplemental research, or at the very least, visit the website where the producers have posted pictures of relevant maps and evidence. We are no longer merely audience members, we are investigators; and oftentimes we feel so invested in the story that we start conversations on social media outlets like Facebook and Twitter.

This podcast is also relevant to our discussion of framing, as host Sarah Koenig seemingly becomes more sympathetic to Adnan, the accused, as her research progresses. Koenig even admits to her sympathetic tendencies in one episode, and by doing so she addresses the fact that Adnan is going to be viewed through all sorts of frames, based on his age, race and attitude (and the age, race and attitude of the person doing the framing). But by realizing her own bias is an imperfect assessment of the situation, she does not seem to let it undermine her journalistic intentions.

Do you agree? Can a journalist be openly biased and not let it affect the neutrality of his/her work?

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