Oprah Winfrey's Influence On American Culture

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Oprah Winfrey transformed daytime television and became one of the most influential women in American media. From a humble beginning growing up poor in Mississippi, Oprah managed to overcome her struggles and rise as a multi billionaire and household name with a following of millions of viewers. My main concern researching Oprah is in what respects was she able to influence people? I look into the many ways that Oprah has influenced her viewers and American culture, as well as how she could connect with so many people. Upon reading on the progressive changes she’s caused, my thesis developed into how Oprah used her stardom positively to influence people and change lives. In researching Oprah, I draw from academic articles, news articles and …show more content…

N.p. 2011. Web. 06 Nov. 2016. Oprah’s official website tells the story of how she became a television pioneer. It features information on Oprah’s work as a radio programmer, as well as her work as an Academy Award nominated actress, and as a producer with her film company, Harpo Films. This biography also informs of Oprah’s creations as a television programmer including the production of Dr. Phil, The Dr. Oz Show and Rachel Ray. Also highlighted is how she became a magazine founder and editorial director. Included is also her philanthropy and how she has given back to the community. In the late 90’s, Oprah formed a public charity, Oprah’s Angel Network, inspired by an episode on her show where she urged her viewers to make a difference in other people’s lives. Oprah also formed a private charity, The Oprah Winfrey Foundation, where she has awarded numerous grants to organizations that support education and the empowerment of women and children worldwide. Her dedication to children led government to pass “Oprah’s Bill,” a bill to establish a national database of convicted child abusers. In acknowledgement of her outstanding accomplishments and contributions, Oprah has received many honors including several Emmy Awards and one of the highest honors, the Presidential Medal of …show more content…

“The Oprah Effect: Texts, Readers and the Dialectic of Signification.” Communication Review, Vol. 5.2, 2002, pp 143-173. Web. 1 Nov. 2016. Peck, a Professor and Associate Dean for Graduate Studies at the University of Colorado, outlines how history shows us that literacy and reading has been an instrument of social control and questions Oprah’s intentions in her media influence. This article concentrates on Oprah’s Book Club and questions the intentions behind it. Peck argues that not all of Oprah’s viewers come from the same backgrounds, therefore they cannot all possibly form the same understanding of a novel. By exploring Oprah.com and the Book Club message boards, Peck explains that for each book chosen in Oprah’s Book Club, Oprah prompts viewers on what to look out for in each book, Oprah also explains the lessons to be learned and the guests invited on the Oprah Winfrey Show would also share Oprah’s interpretation of the book. Peck takes into account that part of Oprah’s brand is to better people’s lives and agrees with Oprah’s overall message that literacy is valuable. Peck comes to the conclusion that Oprah uses her Book Club not to sell books or control her audience, but with the intention to empower and inspire growth in her

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