Pertti Alasuutari provides a state-of-the-art summary of the field of audience research. With contributions from Ann Gray, Joke Hermes, John Tulloch and David Morley, a case is presented for a new agenda to account for the role of the media in everyday life. Only this new agenda, they suggest, can adequately account for our ubiquitous, highly reflexive, participation in modern media culture. Offering a thorough survey of audience research this volume also offers a provocative pointer to future directions and trends in reception research and qualitative analysis.

Slaves of the Ratings Tyranny?: Media Images of the Audience

Slaves of the Ratings Tyranny?: Media Images of the Audience

Slaves of the ratings tyranny?: Media images of the audience

In this chapter I will discuss what image various media hold of audiences or the general public. I will pay particular attention to the medium of television. Especially in a competitive situation like the multichannel environment, there are more desperate attempts to reach, maintain and measure audiences. Thus, media employees might feel that they are slaves of ‘the ratings tyranny’.1

I choose to approach media perceptions of the audience on two levels. First, I will deal with notions of the public held by media employees like journalists and producers. In this part, I will concentrate particularly on media professionals involved in news production, an area that was ...

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