As the culmination of my intern duties at To the Best of Our Knowledge (WPR) I produced an entire hour, from concept to questions to production, all by myself. The title is “Life as Entertainment” and it explores how the border continues to blur between our everyday lives, the Internet, and the entertainment industry.
The entertainment industry is eliminating the gap between real life and fantasy. Popular television shows like Big Brother turn ordinary life into an engaging drama. Virtual worlds like Second Life give users a chance to recreate themselves with the click of a button. But how real is reality entertainment. In this hour of To the Best of Our Knowledge we’ll explore the gray area where real life meets entertainment.
Nick Hitchon is one of the participants in Michael Apted’s Seven Up series of documentaries that checks in on the lives of ordinary people every seven years. Hitchon is now a 49 year old engineering professor at the University of Wisconsin. He talks with Anne Strainchamps about the project and the effect it has had on his life. We also hear clips from the Apted series.
Emily Gould became an Internet celebrity for her writing on Gawker, a popular New York City blog. She talks with Anne Strainchamps about the far more revealing writing she did about her personal life at another site, her personal blog – Heartbreak Soup. Gould has written about her blog experience for the New York Times Magazine. Also, Tom Bollestorff is an anthropologist at UC Irvine and author of “Coming of Age in Second Life.” He describes what virtual on-line worlds like “Second Life” are and how they work.
Laurie Oullette is a media scholar at the University of Minnesota and co-author of “Better Living through Reality TV.” She tells Steve Paulson how reality TV manipulates the lives of its participants. But we watch it anyway: she got hooked on reality TV the first season it started. Also, Bill Wasik is a senior editor at Harper’s magazine. He tells Jim Fleming about the craze he started – flash mobs – seemingly random gatherings of complete strangers doing something out of the ordinary.