Coyote Ugly Librarian: A Participant Observer Examination of Lnowledge Construction in Reality TV.

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Reality TV is the most popular genre of television programming today. The number of reality television shows has grown exponentially over the last fifteen years since the premier of The Real World in 1992. Although reality TV uses styles similar to those used in documentary film, the “reality” of the shows is questioned by critics and viewers alike. The current study focuses on the “reality” that is presented to viewers and how that “reality” is created and may differ from what the participants of the shows experience. I appeared on two reality shows, Faking It and That's Clever, and learned ... continued below

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Holmes, Haley K. May 2007.

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  • Holmes, Haley K.

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Reality TV is the most popular genre of television programming today. The number of reality television shows has grown exponentially over the last fifteen years since the premier of The Real World in 1992. Although reality TV uses styles similar to those used in documentary film, the “reality” of the shows is questioned by critics and viewers alike. The current study focuses on the “reality” that is presented to viewers and how that “reality” is created and may differ from what the participants of the shows experience. I appeared on two reality shows, Faking It and That's Clever, and learned a great deal as a participant observer. Within the study, I outline my experience and demonstrate how editing changed the reality I experienced into what was presented to the viewers. O'Connor's (1996) representation context web serves as a model for the realities created through reality television. People derive various benefits from watching reality TV. Besides the obvious entertainment value of reality TV, viewers also gather information via this type of programming. Viewers want to see real people on television reacting to unusual circumstances without the use of scripts. By surveying reality TV show viewers and participants, this study gives insight into how real the viewers believe the shows are and how authentic they actually are. If these shows are presented as reality, viewers are probably taking what they see as historical fact. The results of the study indicate more must be done so that the “reality” of reality TV does not misinform viewers.

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  • May 2007

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  • Sept. 28, 2007, 9:57 p.m.

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  • July 2, 2015, 1:11 p.m.

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Holmes, Haley K. Coyote Ugly Librarian: A Participant Observer Examination of Lnowledge Construction in Reality TV., dissertation, May 2007; Denton, Texas. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc3663/: accessed December 16, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .