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ERIC Number: ED463518
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2002-Mar
Pages: 30
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
Setting the Agenda for Reading: Oprah Winfrey's Book Club.
Herb, Rhonda
Oprah Winfrey is one of the wealthiest and most powerful entertainers operating in the media today. More than mere celebrity, however, she represents the notion of the heroic for her fans. In a sense, she operates as a television evangelist offering advice on secular issues of the day. This paper explores Oprah's role in influencing audiences to read books, documenting the ways in which she draws attention to certain types of books and transfers her own public image to the content of those books. Through the agenda-setting model, we can better understand how a celebrity proponent like Oprah Winfrey is able to transmit her preferred issues to her audiences' agenda, making these issues salient for millions of fans. This study reviews agenda setting theory, considers the power of celebrity influence, and then uses this information to examine Oprah's Book Club. Through her power as a film and television performer, Oprah associates herself with certain books, their characters and authors, thus providing her audience with a framework for the reading experience. A review of featured book club selections is provided by theme, characteristics of authors, storylines of a representative sampling of titles, and observations of both critics and fans. The conclusion drawn is that Oprah's book selections consistently offer readers a way back from pain. Oprah herself lends psychic support to her followers, and this culture of healing is extended to her book club selections. Oprah's Book Club is one more opportunity for this star, through the power and influence of her person, to focus her audiences' attention on her perception of the salient issues of the day. Contains 39 references. An appendix lists the books selected for Oprah's Book Club. (Author/RS)
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A