Bergillos, I. (2019). “Rethinking Vox-Pops in Television News Evolution of Person-on-the-Street Interviews in Spanish News Programs". Journalism Practice, 13(9), pp. 1057-1074. doi:10.1080/17512786.2019.1635042
Vox pops are seemingly unscripted interviews with ordinary people that are usually employed to represent public opinion in news broadcasts. It is the most common form of audience participation through mainstream television, but at the same time its use in news production has been, and still is, under discussion. Vox pops are controversial not just in themselves, but also in the way they are represented. This article conceptualizes vox pops in the age of digital television and problematizes this kind of audience participation in journalistic practice. It critically examines the role of vox pops in today’s television news programs and frames these processes as minimalistic forms of participation and as strategies for mediated authenticity. Through content and textual analysis, this research presents the evolution of the representation of vox pops in Spanish news broadcasts between 2010 and 2016. Attending to the participatory process, the identification of the citizens selected for interviewing, and their newsworthiness, different configurations are analyzed. The text concludes by reflecting on the need to recover vox pops as a practice for relational journalism and as a more balanced invitation to audience participation.