The Export of US Infotainment

The Death of International Public Service Television

Jane M. Shattuc

Emerson College, Boston, US

Published for RIPE@2014, Workgroup 5: PSM and Convergence


Overview

What is the unstated line that public service networks will not cross when attempting to compete with commercial networks in terms of popular culture? This debate is often framed around documentary and the term “infotainment”—a value-laden term that cuts off any

positive possibility of using popular culture as an effective tool for public service. What exactly does this mean? Working with concepts drawn from cultural studies specifically the work of Pierre Bourdieu, I will provide a discourse analysis of how popular culture and the fear of infotainment has been historically understood in the construction of three diverse public television networks.

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