Habermas, in 1997 defined the Public Sphere to be
“A domain of our social life where such a thing as public opinion can be formed [where] citizens…deal with matters of general interest without being subject to coercion… [to] express and publicise their views”
This metaphorical term appears in every day conversations, and is used to describe the virtual space where people can interact.
Channel Ten’s news reporting show, ‘The Project’ is a definite example of the ‘Public Sphere’. The first thing on the ‘About’ page of its website is “It’s news done differently.” And isn’t it just? With an entertaining team, and the use of social media to create relevancy with viewers, ‘The Project’ is becoming more and more popular around the country.
As claimed on their website, “The Project is the simplest idea in television for a long time… the team dissect, digest and reconstitute each days’ news.” In relation to the ‘Public Sphere’, The Project is one that causes regular news shows to become entertaining and not a pain to watch.
When we think about the News – the first things that come to mind are ‘Seven News’ or ‘Win News’ – yet, what’s different about The Project, is that it isn’t as biased as the aforementioned News broadcasts. The Project doesn’t create the stories and send them out into the public – they take stories that are already out there and dissect them, making them less biased. The Project produced entertaining topics ranging from serious issues, such as Drug Addictions, to issues you may have never even heard about, such as Nek Nomination or Porn Addiction.
There are many stories on the show that are clearly satirical, and is evidence of what is portrayed in the public sphere against what we should be thinking about. The show portrays issues that are barely though about to the forefront of our minds, with a twist to keep us entertained. The atmosphere of the project is conversational, bringing serious issues that are not often spoken about to our attention, and hopefully beginning a discussion in the public sphere. Personally, as a fan of ‘The Project’, I enjoy its conversational manner and the passion of the team to help normalise and bring forward serious issues to the public sphere and public realm.
McKee, A 2005, ‘Introduction: The public sphere: an introduction’ in Public Sphere: An Introduction, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp.1-7