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.
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!