Based on a true story : an analysis of the drama documentary genre and the mediatisation of events based on the miniseries When They See Us

University essay from Lunds universitet/Medie- och kommunikationsvetenskap; Lunds universitet/Institutionen för kommunikation och medier

Abstract: Over the years more and more drama documentaries regarding the mediatisation of past events have been released on various platforms such as online streaming services. Mediatisation is the influence the media has on an individual’s everyday life either through the influence of a medium or through the act of communication. The drama documentary genre on the other hand is built through the combination of both the drama and the documentary genres. Where the drama aspect, aims to persuade a viewer of the issues being portrayed and the documentary aspect, helps construct a sense of authenticity and truthfulness through different tactics such as the use of original documentary material. The drama documentary genre presents issues of concern in order to provoke debate as well as allow for some individuals to suffer the consequences for their past wrong doings, whereby through this mediatisation, society and human practices can be impacted. Therefore, it is important to look at the theory of mediatisation in combination with the drama documentary genre by focusing on the specific case of When They See Us. Using a case study methodology this thesis shows how the mediatisation of events are dramatized through the use of different narrative and style techniques. In addition to how the drama documentary genre is used in reflecting authenticity as well as discussing the interplay between the story world narrative and specific characters in the miniseries. Consequently, the outcome of the miniseries is looked at by discussing the Oprah Winfrey Presents: When They See Us Now in order to help understand the reflection of authenticity in the miniseries as well as backing it up as a truth teller. The mediatisation of events through the drama documentary genre in When They See Us not only allows for the re-telling of the story of five men who had once been wrongly convicted but has also implemented a role reversal both in the story world as well as in real-life where the five men are now seen for who they truly are: innocent.

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