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This guide contains resources related to they study of representations in current affairs programs.

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What are current affairs?

The two words – Current and Affairs come together to give an interesting name to a subject of study. Current means recent, day to day life and affairs mean events, issues etc. Therefore current affairs are the day to day incidents and events around us. 
 

Current affairs different from news
Technically Current Affairs is defined as a genre of broadcast journalism where the emphasis is on detailed analysis and discussion of news stories that have recently occurred or are ongoing at the time of broadcast. This differs from regular news broadcasts where the emphasis is on news reports prepared for simple presentation as soon as possible, often with a minimum of analysis. It is also different from the news magazine show format in that the events are discussed immediately. According to the UK's Office of Communications Current Affairs is an explanation and analysis of current events and issues, including political or industrial controversy or public policy issues. The office distinguishes Current Affairs from the coverage of news, coverage of special events like parliamentary proceedings, and the coverage of consumer affairs, among other exceptions.

The incidents and events that occur in an individual’s immediate environment are of concern and interest as they are so strongly related to one’s cognitive-emotional structure. 

Jagran Josh, 2011.

Representations in the media

By definition, all media texts are re-presentations of reality. This means that they are intentionally composed, lit, written, framed, cropped, captioned, branded, targeted and censored by their producers, and that they are entirely artificial versions of the reality we perceive around us. When studying the media it is vital to remember this - every media form, from a home video to a glossy magazine, is a representation of someone's concept of existence, codified into a series of signs and symbols which can be read by an audience. However, it is important to note that without the media, our perception of reality would be very limited, and that we, as an audience, need these artificial texts to mediate our view of the world, in other words we need the media to make sense of reality. Therefore representation is a fluid, two-way process: producers position a text somewhere in relation to reality and audiences assess a text on its relationship to reality.

Wilson, 2011.

Watch

Rating: M    Production Year: 1994    Duration: 26:41

Description: Frontline transforms another boring story about under-recognised sportwomen into a hot story about lesbianism in sport. Meanwhile, Mike has a party and it's certainly an affair to remember with guests such as Ian "Molly" Meldrum, Glenn Ridge and George Negus.

Rating: G    Production Year: 1996    Duration: 26:06

Description:In a story loosely based on an actual event, a gunman holding his children hostage is the source of Frontline's latest story. The team all work as a tight-knit group in an attempt to get the jump over the opposition stations. In a genuine scoop, Emma is able to get the gunman on the phone. Mike records an interview with the man and even manages to talk to the gunman's daughter. The interview is riveting and give Frontline their best figures in years. However, problems follow as everyone starts to wonder whether Mike's actions were extremely foolhardy, or whether they were helpful in bringing a speedy resolution to a volatile situation.

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Representations in Current Affairs programs

Current Affairs programs like 'Today Tonight' and' A Current Affair' often present stories in a very simplistic manner. There’s always a bad guy—whether it’s noisy neighbours, bad tenants or a shonky car salesman. Watch an episode of one of these programs and find a segment that features such a representation. Think about how these people are represented using camera techniques, acting, editing, lighting and sound.