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Television as a live medium - Assignment Example

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Television as a live medium

Bourdon cited several examples to demonstrate this. There is the case of the live sports commentary. The authors explained that the delivery involves specific phonetic features as well as the unmistakable rhythm and prosody that came as the event unfolds (543). It was stressed that such live commentary could be recorded earlier in a previously completed game or sporting event. But television programs do not operate in vacuums. The audience knows - besides the actual material being viewed - the background information about what they are watching. For example, the schedule of basketball games are published and known to the viewers. These types of information augment the audience’s ability to determine whether a television exhibition is live or not. The voice or the verbal aspect of live television also works in tandem with the visual content being presented. A voice complements the body language of television mediators such as reporters talking to the news anchor. During a news report when a story is being beamed as it happens and the reporter and the anchor are talking about it, the audio reveals the liveness by confirming the nuances (and problems) present in a conversation transpiring where on is talking back from a remote area. The delay in the answers, the need to repeat details and even some technical glitches such as static sounds - they collectively articulate to the audience that the report is transpiring live. Bourdon also pointed out the impromptu changes that occur before the viewers’ eyes and how the voice of television mediators highlights the liveness of the program by confirming them for the sake of the audience. Say, after an advertising break and a new resource person joins a live talk show, the host introduces him or her. It shows a break in sequence or a perfectly logical unfolding of the program, which underpins the contrived pre-produced television materials. To put this in context, one should remember that modern viewers are familiar with live television and could often spot if a program is not. An important part in this discernment is the sound. It is difficult to manipulate and it provides the clue if a material is contrived or pre-produced. It complements the visual messages to articulate “liveness”. Question 2: Why Pay attention, as Sterne urges, to the “physical life of the medium” of television? The physical “stuff” of television is important, according to Sterne, because it is critical in the way the medium functions or rather in the way “televisual” relationships are organized (504). He cited that television infrastructure “reify social relationships - giving relations a degree of density, inflexibility or objectivity that they would not have without an abstracted principle and mechanism of repetition” (504). The problem being addressed by this position is that television infrastructure and its physical life remains mystified or relegated in the historical background mainly because they are not accorded the right degree of interest and emphasis. The argument is that an understanding of the medium’s physical life will provide insights in the sheer power of television’s capability and, therefore, an appreciation and recognition of its role in social, cultural, political and economic spheres. Sterne ultimately underscored that the American television - when approached through an understanding ...Show more


Question 1: Bourdon and White point to the significance of talk vis-a-vis “liveness”. Why does what Bourdon calls “fully live” television invite (or perhaps even require) talk? “Talk” or voice or sound for Bourdon and White is one of the aspects that are difficult to manipulate in live television…
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