Media event  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

A media event is an event or activity that exists for the sole purpose of media publicity. It may also include any event that is covered in the mass media or was hosted largely with the media in mind. Media events may center around a news announcement, a corporate anniversary, a press conference in response to a major media event, or planned events like speeches or demonstrations.



The term pseudo-event was coined by the theorist and historian Daniel J. Boorstin in his 1961 book The Image: A Guide to Pseudo-events in America: “The celebration is held, photographs are taken, the occasion is widely reported”. The term is closely related to idea of hyperreality and thus postmodernism, although Boorstin’s coinage predates by decades the latter two ideas and the related work of postmodern thinkers such as Jean Baudrillard.

In recognizing the differences between a pseudo-event and a spontaneous event, Boorstin states characteristics of a pseudo-event in his book titled "Hidden History." He says that pseudo events are: dramatic, planned, repeatable, costly, intellectually planned, social, cause other pseudo-events, and that one must know about it to be considered "informed".

A number of video artists have explored the concept of a pseudo event in their work. The group Ant Farm especially plays with pseudo events, though not so identified, in their works "Media Burn" (1975) and "The Eternal Frame" (1975).


A news conference is often held when an organization has an announcement and wants members of the press to get the announcement simultaneously. The in-person events may include interviews, questioning, and show-and-tell.

Photo ops are considered a type of media event, where the event is orchestrated for the sole purpose of photography for the media.

A protest may be planned almost exclusively for the purpose of getting media attention to an issue or cause.

A planned presentation or speech such as on company earnings or the President's State of the Union Address is a form of media event.

Historic examples

The driving of the Golden Spike in Promontory Summit, Utah in 1869 has been described as one of the first media events in the United States. Other argue that media events began in the 1940s and the following decades, as television and radio introduced same-day news cycles.Template:Citation needed The emergence of the internet led to many media stories being published Live from the media event, real-time Twitter coverage, and immediate analysis of televised media events. Douglas Kellner identified the September 11, 2001 attacks as a media event orchestrated by terrorists to use the press to sow fear in the American public.

See also

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Media event" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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