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Media logic production: How media practitioners in Italian reality television localize TV formats and select ‘entertainment values’

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Based within the theoretical framework of the sociology of journalism, this article presents the results of a research project on the Italian production of reality television formats. The research (based on interviews and participant observation) focuses on the particular routines and daily practices of different media workers involved in the production of four different Italian reality TV programmes (Big Brother, Farm, Music Farm and Celebrity Survivor). The article details two different stage of this process: first, when broadcasters purchase a TV format; and second, when a TV company actually produces it. Media workers have to select and create a narrative from 24 hours of shooting. In order to manage this task – i.e. the selection of material and its construction in a narrative – two main groups of figures are involved: ‘entertainment gatherers’ and ‘entertainment processors’. The article describes the routines and logics that preside over these choices. At the same time, it discusses ‘entertainment values’ which, like ‘news values’, help media workers to choose between events and material in order to compose them in a coherent narrative. The analysis discusses what kind of media logic is at the stake in the production process.
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Keywords: entertainment; format; media logic; production; reality TV; values

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Università degli Studi di Milano

Publication date: October 1, 2014

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