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Curriculum Studies

Learning, Curriculum and Life Politics: the selected works of Ivor F. Goodson

The Story So Far

He notes that, "there's a price to pay when the media systematically concentrates on itself and ignores the world outside". The opportunity cost of story-telling is that personal minutiae and anecdote replace cultural analysis. Above all, the ‘story’ is the other side of a closure on broad analysis, a failure for imagination. He writes:

In this failure and in the media's amazing self-absorption, I see a shrinking in journalism's social imagination. What I know about the 1980's I owe to a journalism which believed that the challenge was to report Britain as if it was an unknown country: Bea Campbell's Road to Wigan Pier, for example, or Ian Jack's Before the Oil Ran Out. In place of genuine social curiosity, we have the killer interview, the media profile, the latest stale gossip. It's so fashionable we can't even see what a capitulation it represents (Ignatieff 1992, p. 21).

The reasons for the promotion of the anecdote and personal story, are both broadly cultural and political but also specifically economic. They relate to emerging patterns of globalisation and corporatisation. Broadly speaking, the British media is following American patterns in pursuit of American sponsorship. American capital is thereby reproducing the American pattern of decontextualized story-telling.

We find that with the British News at Ten the new initiatives in broadcasting style.

... is part of a new-look bulletin, which will, in the words of one ITN executive, become `more formulaic with a more distinctive human interest approach'. Viewers, it seems, like certainty both in the format of a bulletin and the person who presents it. Lessons have bee learnt from American TV news by senior ITN managers such as chief executive Bob Phillis, editor-in-chief Stewart Purvis and News at Ten producer Nigel Dacre (brother of Paul, the new editor of the Daily Mail) (Brooks 1992, p.69).

The reason for the convergence which American styles of story-telling are addressed later.

By 1994, ITV companies must become minority shareholders in ITN. American TV companies, CNN, CBS and NBC, have already cast their eyes over ITN, though only one of them is likely to take a stake. It is no coincidence that News at Ten will have a more of an American look — the single anchor, like Dan Rather or Peter Jennings, for example.
In short, ITN and News at Ten are being dressed up to be more attractive not just to viewers, but also to prospective buyers (Brooks 1992, p.69).
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  • Date of publication: 15/09/2005
  • Number of pages (as Word doc): 272
  • Publisher: Routledge
  • Subject:
    Curriculum Studies, Narrative Theory
  • Available in:
  • Appears in:
    Learning, Curriculum and Life Politics: the selected works of Ivor F. Goodson
  • Number of editions: 1
  • Paperback
  • Price of book: £27.99
  • ISBN: 978-0-415-35220-8
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