Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The Purpose of this study is...

The purpose of this study is to determine the extent to which anti-prejudice messages appear on television and through a closer look at a particular genre, determine the rhetorical strategies used to promote an anti-prejudice message.


Q: Is the purpose of this study to describe, predict or critique some form of communication?
A: Describe and critique(?)

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Theoretic Agenda of Entertainment-Education

In their 2002 article on E-E, Singhal and Rogers propose that future theoretical investigations into E-E should address 5 items. Two of the 5 areas on the E-E "theoretic agenda" are:
  • "Agenda #1: Theoretical investigations of entertainment-education should pay greater attention to the tremendous variability among E-E interventions."
  • "Agenda #3: E-E theorizing will benefit from close investigation of the rhetorical, play, and affective aspects of E-E."
(Singhal & Rogers, 2002 , p. 120).

Of the 5 items called for, these 2 are what, in part, drive the research shared in this blog. When looking at the "tremendous variability" of E-E, we should consider looking at the fact that E-E is not new. Playwrights and script writers have long attempted to educate their audience while entertaining them. To aid us in designing the more formal type of E-E programs, what can we learn from specifically from TV and film script writers? How do they attempt to persuade the audience? And this brings us to agenda item #3. Can TV programs and films be analyzed as rhetorical artifacts/texts that attempt to persuade (educate) an audience about particular social issues? Well, yes! That's what this line of research is about.

Entertainment-Education and Race Relations

"In the future, we believe entertainment-education will also go beyond the boundaries of its mainstay messages -- reproductive health, family planning, and HIV prevention -- to include other pressing social issues such as peace, conflict mediation, race relations, and reconstruction."
(Singhal & Rogers, 2002 , p. 133).

The research shared in this blog is attempt to "go beyond" and address the race relations in the context of E-E.

Rogers, Vaughan, Swalehe, Rao, Svenkerud & Sood, 1999

Rogers, E. M., Vaughan, P. W., Swalehe, R. M., Rao, N., Svenkerud, P., and Sood, S. (1999). Effects of an entertainment-education radio soap opera on family planning behavior in Tanzania. Studies in family planning, 30(3):193-211.

See abstract

Singhal & Rogers, 2002

Singhal, A. and Rogers, E. M. (2002). A theoretical agenda for entertainment-education. Communication Theory, 12(2):117-135.

Singhal, Cody, Rogers & Sabido, 2003

Singhal, A., Cody, M.J. Rogers, E., Sabido, M. (Editors). Entertainment-Education and Social Change: History, Research, and Practice. Lawrence Erlbaum.

Definitions of Popular

"1: of or relating to the general public2: suitable to the majority: as a: adapted to or indicative of the understanding and taste of the majority b: suited to the means of the majority : inexpensive 3: frequently encountered or widely accepted 4: commonly liked or approved"(

popular. (2008). In Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary. Retrieved December 30, 2008, from

Brummett, 1994

Brummett, B (1994). Rhetoric in Popular Culture. New York: St. Martin's Press.

Definition of Popular Culture

"Popular culture refers to those systems or artifacts that most people share and that most people know about. For those who identify with playing for a symphony orchestra, there is an interrelated ... But television is an immensely rich world of popular culture, as nearly everyone watches television and , even if not everyone sees the same shows, they are likely to know in general about the shows that they do not see. In speaking of popular culture, then, we are concerned with things, like television, that are part of the everyday experience of most people."
(Brummett, 1994, p.21).

TV shows = artifacts/texts

This study looks at rhetorical messages in TV shows that promote anti-prejudice practices.
Because this study looks at the rhetorical messages in popular culture (TV specifically), then I refer to the type of entertainment education research that I'm doing as popular entertainment education.

How to Work Idea/Theme into Play

Hatcher sees 2 ways of putting an idea/theme into in play:
1. Overtly in dialogue or monologue. Hatcher calls this the "direct, rhetorical approach"
2. In Actions/Plot. "Character + Conflict x Action = Idea approach"
(Hatcher, 1996, p.42).
Hatcher does not recommend overtly. There are times for this, but better to put idea in the actions of the characters. Hatcher argues "an audience will always listen more carefully and become more personally involved with an idea when it is presented dramatically. It is one thing to hear a psychiatrist in a play say 'Sometimes it's better to leave a person with her delusions than it is to cure her.' It is another to see her
  • Try to Cure her patient
  • Fight the delusion
  • Cure the patient
  • Witness the light go out of the patient's eyes
  • and Reverse the painful results of 'sanity'
It's the show-don't tell principle. Remember: An audience is a detective. They look for evidence, and they believe what they can see. What they see are the actions."
(Hatcher, 1996, p.43). Author's emphasis

The Best Plays...

"The best plays come from ideas that are
  • personal/societal/spiritual concerns of the playwright
  • personal/societal/spiritual concerns of the audience
  • best shown through dramatic action"
(Hatcher, 1996, p.42). Emphasis added

Which Comes First?

Which comes first story or idea/theme?
Hatcher says it doesn't matter. You may start with an interesting story and eventually work out the theme. Or you may "intellectualize the idea, then articulate that idea in dramatic actions" (Hatcher, 1996, p.41). author's emphasis
"Maybe some great playwrights start with the great thematic idea, but the truth is that good dramatists have a nose for an exciting story that has the potential for exciting ideas" (Hatcher, 1996, p.41).

Moving an Audience

"As playwrights, we want to move our audience, to change or deepen their thoughts and feelings, to give them something to remember" (Hatcher, 1996, p.40).

Hatcher mentions Anna Deavere Smith's play called Fires in the Mirror. (Here "racism" is the"idea" or theme.) Hatcher uses "idea" interchangeably with theme.

Aristotle's 6 Elements of Drama Theory (from Poetics)

"action or plot
thought or ideas
language, diction or verbal expression
music or song
spectacle, image or visual adornment"
(Hatcher, 1996, p.21)

Note: see thought/idea

Hatcher, 1996

Hatcher, J (1996). The Art & Craft of Playwriting. Cincinnati, OH: Story Press.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Bilandzic, Sukalla , Herrmann and Kinnebrock, 2008

Bilandzic, H. , Sukalla, F. , Herrmann, F. and Kinnebrock, S. , 2008-05-21 "What’s the Point of this Film? What’s the Point of this Genre? Analyzing Moral Messages of Genre Films" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the International Communication Association, TBA, Montreal, Quebec, Canada Online . 2008-12-10 from

"Abstract: Embedded in the surface story, moral messages in films convey important values and norms, and show which actions lead to success in life, and which do not. Very different stories may contain the same moral lesson. Regular viewers of narrative fiction are repeatedly exposed to both genre-specific and universal patterns of moral lessons. In the same way as violence or gender stereotypes cultivate an audience into adapting their world views to the television world, moral patterns may cultivate viewers in their moral thinking and acting. But how can moral messages in films be detected when they are most often implicit and hidden in the surface story? This paper presents an instrument for analyzing moral messages in films, which combines structuralist plot analysis from Narratology and heuristic categories from Grounded Theory. The instrument and its methodological foundations are described, and a detailed example is given to exemplify the application."

the above is from:

Possible title

Anti-prejudice rhetoric in popular entertainment-education

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Wednesday, December 24, 2008

I have now started a...

I have now started a new research project. listen

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Saturday, December 20, 2008

Taru Comes To Abirpur

2008 Rogers Award for Achievement in Entertainment-Education

Albert Bandura: 2007 Everett Rogers Colloquium

Singhal & Rogers, 1999

Singhal, A. & Rogers, E. M. (1999). Entertainment-Education: A Communication Strategy for Social Change. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Mahwah, NJ.


Entertainment Education: Definitions

Entertainment Education is "the process of purposely designing and implementing a media message both to entertain and educate" (Singhal & Rogers, 1999, p. 9).

Entertainment education is "the intentional placement of educational content in entertainment messages" (Singhal & Rogers, 2002, p. 117).

"Entertainment-education (E-E) is the process of purposely designing and implementing a media message to both entertain and educate, in order to increase audience members’ knowledge about an educational issue, create favorable attitudes, shift social norms, and change overt behavior (Singhal & Rogers, 1999; Singhal & Rogers, 2002)" (Singhal, Cody, Rogers & Sabido, 2003, p. 5).

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Al Gore's 7/17/08 Climate Crisis Speech


Part 1/4

Part 2/4

Part 3/4

Part 4/4

Hume: Fox News Biased?

The following originally aired on C-SPAN's Q&A on 7/20/08.

To see the full interview and the full transcript see the Brit Hume Interview. The full video can also be found at C-SPAN Video Library (Q & A with Brit Hume)

Q&A Host Brian Lamb interviews Brit Hume. Spot any fallacious thinking? See my specific comments below a little later.

Lamb asks for Hume's reaction to Overholser's claim that Fox practices "ideologically connected journalism." (See the USA Today article "Brit Hume honor triggers protest".)

Hume replies that that this is not unexpected. He then goes on to say "...the truth is that the two things that have annoyed a number of my colleagues about Fox News. One of them is that we were different and pointedly so. And the other was that we succeeded. I think, it would – no one would have paid much attention if we’d failed, but we didn’t. And by the time 2004 rolled around, we were number one in the audience ratings and had been for a couple years."

Lamb asks if Overholser's statement that ”Fox wants to do news from a certain viewpoint” is true. Hume says "Well, if that’s true of us, it’s true of everybody. We’re no more viewpoint connected than any of the other news organizations are.

Lamb points out that other news organizations don't see themselves operate from certain viewpoint. Hume replies: "No, nor do we, judged by their standards. Brian, what it comes down to is this."

Hume then explains that "two parts to Fox News, put broadly. And one is our hard news products. And the other is our evening show hosts and talk shows, which are about the opinions of the host – to a great extent about the opinions of the hosts and stars of those shows.

"Now, a number of our hosts are conservatives, which really, by itself, sets us apart from our competitors, because they have very few conservatives. We have a number. We also have a number of liberals. But it is a striking contrast to the others. And, when you have someone who has been successful as Bill O’Reilly, for example, and is as conspicuous a personality as he is."

"And you have someone who is successful as Sean Hannity has been and who is as visible a figure as he is and outspoken. Never mind the fact, of course, that he’s balanced on that program down to the second by Alan Colmes on Hannity & Colmes. Nonetheless, an impression is created in the minds of some people that don’t watch Fox News very much, that basically Sean Hannity and Bill O’Reilly co-anchor the channel 24/7 and that’s what we do is their conservative opinions. But that isn’t what we do in my hour. That’s not what we do in the hour that goes to 7:00. That isn’t what we do for a large slice of our daytime programming, where we’re just discussing and reporting the news. So, it’s a bum rap, but it’s out there."

Lamb tries his question again. Lamb asks "Fox wants to do news from a certain viewpoint, but it wants to claim that it is fair and balanced, [Overholser] says. That is inaccurate and unfair to other media who engage in a quest, perhaps an imperfect quest, for objectivity. Hume replies: "Well --"

Perhaps to quickly Lamb goes to his follow-up question. "David Brinkley, Dan Rather, John Chancellor, Jane Pauley, Barbara Walters and Nina Totenberg and others, are they all objective?

Hume stresses: "None of us is objective. You can’t be objective. But what you can try to be is fair. I mean, David Brinkley, as I recall, is one of the first people I ever heard say that. You can’t be objective. You’re a sentient, thinking, human being. You’re going to have views in reaction to things. But I’ll say this about it. I believe that fairness begins with an awareness that no, you’re not objective. And it is your professional duty and responsibility to be aware of that. And to carry that with you into the work that you do so that you can be fair. So, you could screen out. You can be – you can think if you go to a hearing and you think that the politician whose running the hearing is obstreperous personality, whether it’s Phil Graham or Barney Frank, that you think, I got to be careful here, because I don’t particularly cotton to this person. I need to make sure that I play this straight. That I’m fair. I think that’s where it begins. I’ve always thought that. And it’s not that hard to do. I mean, think of the people in the professions that we – other professions that we – in the practice of law. Lawyers represent clients they disagree with. They even represent viewpoints they disagree with. They do it all the time. And they do a good job of it, because they’re professionally trained to do it. We as journalists are or should be professionally trained to do that as well. To go out and assess a story based on its news value and to order it and prioritize what we see in such a way as to reflect news values and report it that way."

Lamb finishes up in this line of questioning with: "Did Roger Ailes ever say to you in a conversation, we’re going to use this fair and balanced slogan and it’s going to drive them crazy?"

Hume: "It does drive them crazy. Now look, Brian, the examples I cited to you earlier – the earlier example of that story is a meaningful example is the kind of thing that where we see opportunity where others see nothing. Now, can anyone, Geneva Overholser or anyone else seriously argue to me than when a report comes out from an administration that a year ago said that progress – satisfactory progress was being made on half of these political benchmarks, which had been so much at the center of the debate. And a year later comes along and reports more than twice as much. That that isn’t news. Of course, it’s news by any reasonable, fair-minded standard. Our colleagues neglect such stories with some regularity, providing us a competitive opportunity. We pickup on stories like this. Now, we’re perfectly willing to report that somebody said that the benchmarks are not – they’re not being met. They’re simply reporting progress. They don’t mean that much. All of that is part of the fabric of the reporting on it. But it is news. And we do a lot of that. Now, one might argue that, gee, if we weren’t conservative in outlook, we wouldn’t think that way. Well, maybe. On the other hand, if that’s true, then what’s true on the other side."

For more information: