Television professionals' reflections on their practices while cooperating with amateur participants: A case study of three topical Finnish multiplatform shows

Tiina Rautkorpi*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


This article investigates the professional identities of key members of the television production teams that cooperate with volunteer citizens. The data is derived from production ethnographies conducted during three Finnish reality and documentary productions over the 2015-18 period, which included reflective interviews with scriptwriter-directors, operating producers and a key cinematographer. In the productions utilizing volunteers as storytellers, the professionals focused on building multivocal television narration, which offered amateur presenters valuable opportunities to address the audience. In doing so, the professionals drew on their craft skills and gladly resorted to broad job descriptions and reciprocal teamwork. At the same time, they took the lead in planning the programme entirely and used production tools to control their communication with amateurs. However, in their reflections, the professionals also expressed uncertainty about many obstacles and tensions in selecting and encountering ordinary people. According to the activity theory, the television production staff's professional development has to be built on the relevant strata of their current skills. The professionals' identified interest in building multivocal content forms the basis for rejuvenating the entire production process towards co-creation, to take optimal advantage of the way regular citizens make sense.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)195-215
Number of pages21
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2020
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • production studies
  • professional development
  • reality television
  • citizen participation
  • co-creation
  • Finland

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