I think it is safe to say that the majority of Americans get most of their exposure to stories through television. Not everyone enjoys reading, but almost everyone enjoys sitting down to watch something at least occasionally. It can be hard for many Americans to make time to go to a movie theater, but they do not need to make time when they can just flip their television on and have countless choices on what to watch for any length of time they desire.
Because it is so popular, television is a great way of judging what kind of stories people like. I happen to be a bit interested in that considering I enjoy writing. While it is important to write what you enjoy, it is also sometimes important to know what your audience will enjoy. In addition to that, television can help you explore what you enjoy in a story. It can take a long time to read a book, but I can watch one episode of a TV show and realize that I find it fascinating in a much shorter time frame. That, in turn, can inspire something I write. It is all related to each other, and the same sorts of things are entertaining in both television and books.
While television can provide a great look at what someone finds entertaining, its connection to reading does not end there. There are many storytelling conventions that are the same in both television and books. Writers should always learn more about the craft from reading of course, but there is no harm in also picking up some tips from television every so often. There are countless television shows out there that present brilliantly told stories, and writers can benefit from seeing how these are told. Not everything done on television can transfer into print, but many things can. The truly magical parts of stories that make them beloved by their audiences are the same in both television and print.
I am not just studying English in the hopes of being a writer though. I am also studying secondary education and have plans to become a high school English teacher. Those classrooms that I teach in will no doubt be filled with a large number of students that watch television on a regular basis and fewer students who regularly open up a book. The television that they watch will help shape their views on the world and their own experiences, and for that reason, it is important that I be aware of what sorts of television they are watching and what kind of messages they are taking in. This is not a method of censoring them or what they are watching, but I do think that knowing what they find entertaining or what they find important can help me figure out how to transfer that entertainment or importance into what I am teaching them. For instance, how many students would love to connect their favorite television show to a school project? Would students be more interested in a novel if I could connect it to a television show many of them enjoy watching each week?
Television plays an integral part in everyone’s lives today. It is an integral aspect of our society that will affect every job out there in some capacity. I am completely aware how it will affect me as both a writer and a teacher, and it is an influence that I will always be sure to use positively in order to do the best job that I can in both of the professions that I love.