4. The Role of the Professional – Engaging the Public through Popular Screen Media

With the heavy influence of the Internet over our lives and the accessibility of information as well as tools and applications easily and at an affordable price, it is no wonder that the role of the professional has changed. Professionals involved in aspects of politics, advertising, media producing and even corporations and businesses have seen a shift from a more physical presence and to a virtual one. Businesses and even individual professionals must adapt to the changes that social media and the Internet bring to consumer consumption and, now, consumer participation. It is not just the platform of consumption that is changing it is the professional who is changing also due to this transition to a virtual terrain. How the professional must engage with these users changes how they engage with popular screen media, and how the content that is created is now changing to appeal to their audiences.

Television has endured a substantial hit in terms of viewers and profits as a result of the Internet, as well as streaming sites such as Netflix and illegal downloading that it gives access to. RTÉ has reported in 2015 that they are “financially challenged”  and due to this RTÉ stated that they were faced with a €2.8 million deficit in 2015 due to this loss in income. However, television still plays an important part in popular media and the platform of the professional. Henry Jenkins mentions television programs in his Ted Talk from 2010 in terms of journalism and popular media engagement. Shows such as SNL in America, and Russell Howard’s Good News in England, address news in a comedic yet critical way, and both seem to be a reaction to media posted not just on television but also online where their audiences are. Through popular screen media these hosts and their respective channels can reach the public in a new and updated way in addressing popular culture.

Popular culture is also addressed by the professional through online media platforms and social media in terms of advertising. The professional now moves away from physical media such as newspapers and magazines to social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook and Youtube. Businesses now can be present not just on television screens but also on tablets, computers and smart phones. The professional present on the television screen acknowledges media from the Internet and popular culture, and similarly to this the professional online must also be aware of the young audience that they are reaching; an active audience. The producer and writer of the television series ‘Once Upon a Time’, Adam Horowitz regularly updates fans on the production of the show, even tweeting elements of the show’s scripts.

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One film that has taken on board audience participation is the Oscar winning film ‘La La Land’ (2016). The film has been inundated with fan art, dance reenactments, and musical covers, and the film has embraced this. The ‘La La Land’ Facebook page has repeatedly shared these fan made videos as has it’s Twitter page and Instagram. This presence online creates a bond with the producer as the professional and the fans who also become producers, and so a hype and then a community is created around the film. A line between fan and creator is crossed where the fan consumes the media, and in return is gives back their own creations. This bond that is created is how the professional can use the popular screen media to promote their content as well as exhibit it.

Works Cited

Jenkins, Henry. “Tedxnyed – Henry Jenkins – 03/06/10”. Youtube, 2010, https://youtu.be/AFCLKa0XRlw.

Dean, Carson. ‘La La Land – “Lovely Night Dance” By Carson Dean with Kausha Campbell’. Youtube, 2017. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aFDGC1vEWGY



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