This is a belated notice, but Melissa Tully and I have a new article published in Television & New Media that looks at the Kenyan television show The Team and its online campaign to engage viewers in a discussion about national unity. Here’s the abstract from “The Team Online: Entertainment-Education, Social Media, and Cocreated Messages“:
This article examines an entertainment-education program, The Team, which began airing in Kenya after the 2007–2008 postelection violence. The show promotes cooperation and national unity among Kenyans through the metaphor of Kenya as a football (soccer) team. The focus of this article is twofold: viewers’ identification with and reaction to certain morally ambiguous characters and audience members’ interaction with the program through the online social networking site Facebook. We argue that the producers’ attempt to create less didactic storylines and more complex characters resulted in unanticipated audience opposition to the death of a character the producers understood to be negative but audience members viewed as sympathetic. Second, the adoption of social media resulted in less controlled discussions in which Facebook users occasionally questioned, challenged, and sought to reshape the producers’ goals and strategies.
The article is currently available online and will appear in print in 2014.