In modern society, television is one of the most important media for presenting the past. This article focuses on the poetics of history on television broadcasts in relation to the manner in which these broadcasts present our past as well as our collective memory. This study rebuts criticism of television as a medium for historical accounts by demonstrating how professionals in the field actively display an extensive knowledge and understanding of the past, provide frameworks for the contextualization of audiovisual materials and depth, and apply and operate specific functions of different representation tools in their productions. To gain insight into the way television producers interact with history, this study combines qualitative textual analysis of the broadcasts and an approach from the field of production studies: diverse in-depth interviews and analysis of internal documents. The case study chosen for this research was Andere Tijden, a history program based on archive material and produced by NTR (formerly known as NPS) and VPRO for the Dutch Broadcast Foundation, from 2000 onwards. The case study demonstrates how television producers’ mediation of history is an important practice in the search for history and memories and the conservation and presentation thereof. The analysis reveals the possibility of more cohesive poetics with regard to history on broadcast television and offers insight into the objectives, strategies and conventions of television producers. Special attention is paid to the more implicit practices of selection and interpretation of material by television producers as curators of the past. These implicit practices are made explicit on a cultural-historical, institutional and textual level.

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Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision
Tijdschrift voor Mediageschiedenis

Hagedoorn, Berber. (2017). De poëtica van het verbeelden van geschiedenis op broadcast televisie: De casus van Andere Tijden sinds 20001. Tijdschrift voor Mediageschiedenis, 20(1), 78–114. doi:10.18146/2213-7653.2017.282