Media Events and Pseudo-Events Essay

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The terms ‘pseudo-event’ and ‘media event’ refer to the phenomenon that in modern societies many events are created or shaped because of the existence of the media and in order to stimulate media coverage. Pseudo-events would not occur without the existence of the media but are planned mainly for the purpose of getting media coverage. Media events occur independently from the existence of the media, but they are shaped in a ceremonious character to cater the needs of the media. They are subject to media-related staging, to a mise-en-scиne by the media for the viewers, to the telling of a story.

Most pseudo-events are basically strategic communication and public relations exercises. A media-friendly design is therefore one of the most important aspects of pseudo-event planning. The pseudoevent basically has to be designed according to the media’s selection criteria. As the event itself often lacks newsworthiness, it has to be artificially enhanced to make it more interesting. Pseudo-events serve a purpose. Lobbies try to attract attention to their interests or bring about a certain atmosphere by staging such events. Big sports events, political party conventions, and big trade fairs are examples of media events.

A media event in itself has a high social relevance and a festive character. The media intensify this festive character and live coverage makes it available to a wide audience around the world. The events are predictable for the media and are staged to gain the highest possible media interest.


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  2. Dayan, D. & Katz, E. (1996). Media events: The live broadcasting of history. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
  3. Nimmo, D. & Combs, J. E. (1983). Mediated political realities. New York: Longman.

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