TV Media and Reality: An Observation



Each student will be expected to observe four hours of TV in the next week. Any show is appropriate but emphasis should be placed on human behavior. Do not watch sporting events, news or documentaries. Take detailed notes as you go about the characters. How are they dressed? What are their bodies like? Their faces? What do they do for a living? Are they rich, poor, or middle class? What race or ethnicity are they? How do they refer to themselves? What is their age? Etc. Do this for two hours.

            Then take two hours to do real-life observation, pick two spots in quite different settings (neighborhoods) and pick an ideal location for observing human behavior. Laundromats are ideal as well as public parks, malls, bus terminals, airports, etc. Pick out several people to watch and make the same observations as you did for the media characters.

            Now go back and watch two more hours of TV. You may add new categories for observation if they occur. Look over your notes, and draw comparisons between the media characters and the real people that you observed.

a.       Does the media distort images of real people?

b.      Does the media influences us with our sense of reality?


You may select a group of people (teens, elderly, 20 somethings) for observation but only if it corresponds with your TV viewing observation.


This assignment is due on_____________. It must be typed.





















Source: Bell, Inge and Bernard McGrane. 1999. This Book is Not Required. Thousand Oaks, CA: Pine Forge Press.