Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Why Do People Watch Television?

America in Primetime: this PBS series offers a glimpse into the reasons why television is so important in American society. It's told from the creative side, not the viewer side. But it's compelling to hear their theories about people's motivations to watch TV, and how TV is viewed within the profession. I have only seen episodes 3 and 4, and plan to catch up with the rest this weekend. Watch online.

In an attempt to compel you to watch, below are some quotes from the series. 

There’s something about a shared experience. You used to know that millions of other people were watching the same thing, and there’s something (kinda) cosmic about that. You feel a deeper thing, and you know that deeper thing. --David Lynch, America in Primetime, Episode 3: The Misfits.

Audiences create these guidelines by what they choose to watch. Artists need to be in a position to (sort of) push the boundaries and let the audiences speak back to them. That’s the way it works. That’s the way art is supposed to work. --Ron Howard, America in Primetime, Episode 4: The Crusader.

Storytelling is like making everyone part of a big family so that members of the audience are able to identify with characters in their full complexity. That type of deep, emotional attachment is what television at its best is capable of generating. --David Milch, America in Primetime, Episode 4: The Crusader

Professional Vision (a work in progress)

Professional Vision: UX in Journalism - a living document whose first draft is below

WHY: Foster innovative journalism to keep American democracy alive.

HOW: Create subjective discussions surrounding our designs: products, features and deliverables.

The business world wants to objectify everything. “Let’s create a focus group and learn the best execution.” “Let’s survey users and learn how to design.” “Let’s test users to determine the best interface.” Business people want objective data to make the best, informed decision. Business people want innovation without risk and without change. Business people want a high profit margin. Business people want only success. This is not reality.

Reality is a subjective discussion of users. Reality is making a decision because it aligns with values and identity. Reality is an iterative design fueled by failure but driven by success. Reality is making a profit. Reality is an unambiguous vision.

subconscious and conscious decisions
behaviors and goals
motivation and passion
awareness of others’ perceptions
connection with community
unconditional concern among family and friends
constructive debate

acknowledgement of imperfections surrounding journalistic integrity, but the goal for perfection nonetheless
professionalism and acceptance among peers