Tag Archives: public relations

Could Reality TV lead us to The Hunger Games?

Spoiler Alert!

For those of you who have been living under a rock, The Hunger Games is the first book in the Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins. The story takes place in the post-apocalyptic country of Panem. The Capitol is the all-powerful government that controls the 12 districts that make up Panem and hosts the annual Hunger Games. The Hunger Games is a televised event where the Capitol chooses one boy and one girl from each district to fight to the death as punishment for District 13′s rebellion (which is non-existent… or so we think) and to show that not even children are above the Capitol’s power. The story follows Katniss Everdeen, District 12 tribute, throughout her journey to and in the Hunger Games. Also from District 12 is Peeta Mellark, who boldly claims his love for Katniss upon entering the Hunger Games.

I could go into more detail, but I do want people to be able to read and enjoy the book. What I wanted to point out is the blatantly obvious similarities between the Hunger Games and popular reality TV shows. Now I’m not saying that eventually we are going to start letting people kill each other on live TV, but I am saying that what we consider entertainment now is slowly progressing towards the unethical practices that are displayed in the book. There are 3 major similarities that stood out to me right away:

1. You have to look pretty for people to like you

Katniss Everdeen, along with the other tributes, was assigned a personal fashion team and stylist before being presented in the Hunger Games arena. The full body makeovers they receive are supposed to make the tributes look more appealing to their audience and potential sponsors (who can purchase essential items that can be delivered to them during the Hunger Games).  Sound familiar? That’s because it is. Every year countless hopefuls on shows like American Idol are told they have a great voice, but need to look better to win over viewers (sponsors) that will give their vote (essential item) to them in order for them to succeed throughout the competition. For example, Carrie Underwood’s transformation from down south country girl to Hollywood beauty:

2. When things start to get boring, torture people

In reality shows like Big Brother when nothing is happening the show is dull and people won’t watch it. To fix this, the latest season of Big Brother put a twist on the games announcing that there is a “saboteur” among them. The saboteur could be any one and contestants are forced to watch their backs at all times. This kind of sudden twist is also seen in the Hunger Games when tributes are not fighting and there aren’t any deaths. For example, the gamemakers throw in tracker jackers (genetically altered wasps whose venom causes people to go mad) to keep the tributes on their toes.

3. A “showmance” guarantees audience approval

A “showmance” is a fancy word to describe a fake reality TV romance.  In order to stay alive, Katniss and Peeta (although his feelings were real), formed a relationship sham in order to help both of them while in the Hunger Games by pleasing the crowd. No one wanted to see the two “star crossed lovers” kill each other, which gained them sponsors and ultimately allowed both of them to miraculously survive the Hunger Games. “Showmances” occur regularly on reality TV shows, such as Jeff and Jordan from Big Brother 11. Although these two used their fake romance to last in the competition (Jordan won the 1/2 million dollar prize), they actually started dating after the season ended (sounds a lot like how Katniss and Peeta end up).

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He said, She said

As graduation has finally arrived for me, I have had a lot of time to reflect on my college experience.  Looking back, I realize how much time I spent socializing with my friends… Actually, just about anybody who would listen to me talk. A result of all this socializing comes the one word everyone says they hate but somehow partakes in it: gossip. Why do we do it? Where would we be without it? Why is it so intriguing?

I’m not saying everyone gossips as much as a group of college-aged girls do, but I am saying that at one point or another everyone has gossiped. My theory is that individuals participate in gossip to form bonds and relationships with other people. I can remember plenty of times chiming into a conversation about another person in order to establish myself among the group. To use my knowledge about another person to my advantage. To climb the ladder of social hierarchy. The one thing is that when this situation would occur I would not knowingly think to myself, “You want a relationship with these people, talk about someone else so they respect you”. It was instinct. It was a natural.

I’m not proud of gossiping in the past and it’s not something I make a habit of doing, but I can recognize why it happens. It’s human to do everything in our power to be accepted by others and gossip is one method in achieving those relationships. We will even purchase gossip magazines to fulfill our needs and watch so-called reality shows that are all centered around people gathering and talking about other people.

I watch Gossip Girl every Monday night. For those who haven’t been studying communication for the past 4 years, the show can easily influence girls to participate in gossip, but it also shows the ugly consequences. Many people would say that this show glamorizes gossiping, but I beg to differ. Every time one of the characters sends a Gossip Girl “blast” about someone to get ahead, the reverse happens.  Throughout the episode where the following clip comes from the different characters have each sent GG blasts resulting in… Well, a pretty interesting graduation ceremony…

Obviously, the mysterious “Gossip Girl” is at the top of the hierarchy and through sending GG blasts the characters attempt in overthrowing the hold she has over each of them. This only causes them to gossip and send “blasts” more and more, putting them on a path of only destruction.

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Back to Blogging

After taking a long break from blogging this summer, I have decided to start back up again. I want to use my blog as a means to document my job-hunting experience as December graduation is approaching. Also, writing in my blog has always helped me improve my writing skills. Now that I no longer have 20 page communication arts research papers to write I think I might get slightly bored.

I’m finally in my last batch of PR classes. These classes include:

  • PR Campaign Strategies
  • PR Practicum
  • PR Firms
  • and lastly, PR Publications

In addition to taking classes, I am currently interning at the Statesboro Convention and Visitor’s Bureau where I have been spending a lot of my time promoting and attending the town’s farmer’s market(Mainstreet Farmer’s Market, if you’re in the area you should go!), using Adobe InDesign to create brochures and fliers and meeting community members. My main project for the semester is to design and create a box of recipe cards using ingredients that can be bought at the farmer’s market. I have already made a “Tour Planner Guide” for Statesboro and am working on a guide to Pick-Your-Own farms in Southeast Georgia on the side.

In addition to THAT, I am also volunteering at WVGS 91.9 The Buzz radio station on the Georgia Southern campus as their Public Relations Manager. I normally spend my time updating their social media channels and most recently I was given the opportunity to do a voice-over for the introduction to one of the radio shows.

I’m really hoping this semester gives me as much experience in the PR field as possible so I can be completely ready to have a job upon graduation. I am definitely sticking to applying for jobs in a major U.S. city. It has always been my dream to live somewhere big.  If I were to rate where I want to work on a scale 1-5 it would be as follows:

  1. NYC
  2. Boston
  3. Chicago
  4. Seattle
  5. Atlanta

I have decided to use Adobe InDesign to make a more creative resume(don’t get scared… not too artsy!). I just want to stand out from other applicants and make a name for myself and hopefully I can find an employer who will appreciate the individual spin my resume will have!

Well that is it for now!

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