From Public Agenda to Public Entertainment: The Evolution of News Talk Shows in Taiwan


Li-Lin Lin, Herng Su


Talk show, indigenous media, accountability system


The initiation of news talk shows in Taiwan was ‘Speaking Your Mind at 2100’ which inclined to the commentary of politics and the discussion of public issues since 1994. The new genre of news-oriented talk shows was emerged in recent years. It is a kind of entertainment-oriented talk show in which makes fun of the day’s news; ‘This is it’ is its representative.Analysis of two programs content and in-depth interviews set points to the public forum or infotainment characteristics of news talk shows. The results suggest that ‘Speaking Your Mind on 2100’ provides informational values about public issues and news as a forum for pulling the public to criticize the government. However, news talk show like ‘This is it’ constitutes a comic significant infortainment offers more human interest in daily introspection. The results suggest that the
differential presence of infotainment elements can be more identified in ‘This is it’. The shift from public forum to infotainment is thus a process redefining news talk show programming. The critique rests on an underlying set of values favoring Habermasian rationality and enlightenment rhetoric over an emphasis on human interest and affect. This opens a new space of the study of news talk shows.