The Public Sphere? Let’s get Leslie’s view…

The ‘Public Sphere’ is a place for citizens to come forward to debate the matters of the day, thus public “opinion” is formed. The Mediated Public Sphere has a moderator but is still a space for citizens to come forward to debate the matters of the day.

Examples of this? – Talk back radio, Vox Pops, Internet Forums (Twitter, Facebook, Discussion Blogs)

Today we see the public sphere in a radically new way compared to Jugen Hobermas’ “Coffee House”. Social media has been the major contributor in this change and it has become even more accessible for us to share our views and concerns. However, because we can so freely express our views has the public sphere been degraded by consumer capitalism? Or, has it been enhanced by the emergence of different publics and public spaces?

As a journalism and media student I am becoming increasingly aware of how the media portrays people. Arguably, TV shows like Big Brother and The Block are examples of the public sphere being degraded by consumer capitalism. I personally wasn’t allowed to watch Big Brother when I was younger and have never been a huge fan of the show. However, this is not why I am negatively portraying it. I am personally a big fan of The Block but I have been disheartened by the past years twitter feeds about the personalities on the show. In the end, for both shows it has more of a popularity contest compared to who ‘played the game’ and who designed the best home.

But what about the positives? Why is it that we tend to comment on the controversial, or disregard the tv shows that portray a good role model? We tend to focus on the negatives in the public sphere, compared to focusing on the positives.

Leslie Knope is the main character in NBC’s ‘Parks and Recreation’. Strong willed and determined deputy director of parks and recreation in Pawnee, Leslie Knope is an extremely positive role model in today’s mediated public sphere. Even though Leslie doesn’t have the most highly payed job, or whatever you would term the “best job” she is so hardworking and appreciates everyone she works with… besides Jerry – but that’s just for comedic relief.  The TV show as a whole embraces the idea that you can always keep reaching for something bigger and something better and you’ll find ambitions you didn’t even know you had.

Here’s a further 17 reasons why Leslie Knope is a kick-ass role model…

So? Why should we continue to discuss the negatives? Let’s focus on the positives in the public sphere so we can get more positive role models out there!







10 thoughts on “The Public Sphere? Let’s get Leslie’s view…

  1. The addition of the article makes me really want to start watching Parks and Recreation. Maybe you should add something about how that show, especially that character, has had a massive following on social media sites like tumblr. ^_^
    I totally agree with all your points 🙂

  2. Lovely to see some focus on the positive figures in media! Pretty much all the characters on Parks and Recreation are so relatable and great, highly recommended! All in all a great look at the public sphere (and a great priority list from Leslie!).

    Keep up the good work Lily!

  3. Thank you for a unique outlook on this topic, the positive aspects are even more important the the negatives. You have helped me gain a better understanding on the Public Sphere and how it surrounds us. I might start watch Parks and Recreation as well. Well Done Lily 🙂

    • Thank you Emma, of course the positive aspects are more important than the negatives and I think if we did shift this outlook as a society it may contribute to how people act. Who knows what could happen!

  4. I haven’t watched much of Parks and Recs but your blog post has given me even more reason to get into it! You made some fantastic points about how the public sphere can be used for positive portrayal of people and stimulate the discussion of current events which leads to an ultimately stimulated and aware society 🙂
    nice work Lily! you have such a personalised voice with your writing which is nice to read! 🙂

  5. Let’s not forget about Andy, his enthusiasm for shining shoes is an inspiration to young people everywhere! Anyway you address some really good points! the idea that we tend to focus on the negative side of media is very true and can even contribute to the debate about media blame in week 2. Great work Lily 🙂

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