Alain De Botton does media studies on BBC Newsnight

I just picked this up on the MeCCSA mailing list. We also watched it in utter disbelief! This is the kind of news programme (and presenter) that would usually condemn media studies. Then along comes De Botton… Can he be done for plagiarism?

Clip here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-25956063

From MeCCSA – not the last, I think.

Alain De Botton was on Newsnight last night. He declared that it was a problem that we don’t teach children how to “read” the news. He appeared to unaware of the existence of Media Studies. None of the panel, which included Alastair Campbell, challenged his ill informed views. I think MeCCSA should consider registering a complaint on behalf of the profession. The item on Newsnight is available on IPLayer. It commences 16.00m in.

At 16.43 Alain de Botton at the start of a filmed intro item, declares:

“At school they teach you how to analyse books and pictures, but no one ever tells you how to make sense of that far more powerful questionable art form, the news. We’re taught to decode Shakespeare but not the celebrity section of he Daily Mail; George Eliot but not The Sun”
How long has Media Studies been an A Level subject ?

This is developing into quite a debate. Started about 10.45am – about the time when most MeCCSA members are waking up and checking email, it seems.

Some are actually congratulating Le Botton…

“Actually it’s quite nice to hear someone say these things need studying. The more usual Govian line ( and it has many sneering antecedents of course), is that students really ought to be studying proper stuff, not all this nonsense about TV, news, and popular culture. Cary’s quite right – there’s too little of this, never mind more than he seems to be aware of.”

Prof. Peter Golding
Pro Vice-Chancellor,
Northumbria University

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About Virality

Tony D. Sampson is Reader in Digital Culture and Communications at the University of East London. A former musician, he studied computer technology and cultural theory before receiving a PhD in sociology from the University of Essex. His publications include The Spam Book, coedited with Jussi Parikka (Hampton Press, 2009), Virality: Contagion Theory in the Age of Networks (University of Minnesota Press, 2012), The Assemblage Brain: Sense Making in Neuroculture (University of Minnesota Press, 2016) and Affect and Social Media (Rowman and Littlefield, due 2018). He is organizer and host of the Affect and Social Media conferences in the UK, a co-founder of Club Critical Theory and Director of the EmotionUX Lab at UEL. He occasionally blogs at: https://viralcontagion.wordpress.com/ Full academic profile: https://www.uel.ac.uk/Staff/s/tony-sampson
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