Social Commentary

Insight, Outsight, Insight, On –

Media as a public domain platform, frequently comments on societal issues and acts as a catalyst for debate.

Said messages prevail through the platform, irrespective of how it is structured or mediated. Instead, the presentation will alter the accessibility and strength of the topic, as well as attracting a differing audience demographic.

This is evident through the different readership and recipient of Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) or Special Broadcasting Services (SBS) forum of ideas programs and a popular culture show upon a commercial providers network. Although they may comment on similar issues, the level of detail, the ideological perspective and importance placed on the message will suit the audience. The is seen through the belief that forums such as Q&A, Lateline or Insight attract an older, possibly more educated audience, whereas Big Brother or Googlebox attract a less mature following. This is not necessarily the case, considering Q&A as a program within their promotional campaigns, associate themselves with youth and promote engagement through the use of twitter and Facebook, which are youth are strongly engaged with.  This is not to invalidate the messages sent through popular culture is equally as important and arguably more palatable for mass consumption.

Compare the following: (Disclosure: full Q&A program link embedded)

  • Informal Setting:
  1. Simpsons on Feminism:
  2. Street art promotes debate, as seen with the work of notorious ‘Banksy’


  • Formal setting:
  1.  Q&A on Feminism:

It is evident that both sources of information discuss similar issues, yet the domain, presentation of information and intended audience contrast greatly. It comes down to the individual and media format referencing.

The trick is, to know which you prefer –

A personal preference of mine is Insight. The SBS program nurtures topical debate b418375235865_03260503_2603201550511PM_largeetween audience members and continues to provoke through the dissemination of said message through public broadcasting. Insight promotes itself as creating a unified debate consisting of the layman, those with firsthand experience as well as professionals and scholars regarding the area of debate. Jenny Brockie mediates participants as the general facilitator. The debate lacks stringency, considering there is minimal pre-scripting and audience members are encouraged to speak their mind during the program. Topical issues have been addressed since the shows establishment in 1995, such as domestic violence, body image, slavery, sexual abuse, surrogacy, politics etc.

Interestingly, must alike Q&A, Insight has also heavily engaged with alternative sources of discussion, such as Twitter and Facebook. This achieves a greater sense of audience engagement and helps continue the debate beyond the allocated air time.

Screen Shot 2015-04-04 at 12.03.11 AMScreen Shot 2015-04-04 at 12.03.20 AM  In contemplating this, my parents weighed in on the conversation. As previous participants and audience members on the show, my father addressed a peculiar notion.

“We were a part of the show, we sat, listened and discussed, but the original aim was for the TV show. You could feel that. It felt like a good discussion, but you were hyperaware that the real debate is happening at home.”  

This practice presents the idea that perhaps the effectiveness of sharing a message through formal media is inextricably linked to popular culture – 

For further Insight viewing:

One comment

  1. Hello Isawisniewska,

    I personally haven’t watched Lateline or insight as I agree that it attracts an older and more educated audience. Q&A on the other hand I feel is for both, having had the addition of social network sites like twitter in order for viewers and audience members to engage in the topics at hand. Allowing for easy mass consumption like you stated.
    Do you think its better for audience members to speak their mind during the show? Or do you think that the hosts should be the only facilitators of the discussion, releasing information to only consume and not to be expressed by other people in the studio? I think audience participation is needed, as many people at home have the same perceptions.
    I feel like your writing really does get me reading and your information flows quite easily. I like how you compared the public sphere in both a informal and formal context. I agree with the fact that location and accessibility of content is important in overall consumption of topics that are globally exchangeable and therefore create deliberation.
    I also thought that with the addition on your parents view on being part of the show first hand was a great idea to present as it shows how audience members feel in the moment, and how you stated that the real debate is happening at home. Each and everyone of us has differing opinions and these contribute to the circulation of content and therefore issues in the public sphere.



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