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:

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

About Virality

Tony D. Sampson is Reader in Digital Culture and Communications at the University of East London. He has a PhD in social-cultural-digital contagion theory from the Sociology Department at the University of Essex. He is a former art student who re-entered higher education in the UK as a mature student in the mid-1990s after a long stint as a gigging musician. His career in education has moved through various disciplines and departments, including a maths and computing faculty, sociology department and school of digital media and design 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), Affect and Social Media (Rowman and Littlefield, July 2018) and The Sleepwalker's Guide to Social Media (due 2020 with Polity Press). Tony is the organizer and host of the Affect and Social Media conferences in the UK (see archive on this blog). As a co-founder and co-director of the public engagement initiatives, Club Critical Theory (CCT) and the Cultural Engine Research Group (CERG), Tony has been project lead on a number of funded projects that bring impactful critical theories into the community and local political sphere to approach. These activities have included large conferences, symposia and informal lectures/workshops in pubs and community centres, co-organized with community groups and local authorities. Tony occasionally blogs at: Full academic profile:
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