Writers and the Media

Villatoro, Vicenç
Revista Literatures Núm. 0 1997

The writer, apart from working alone, reflecting and creating in front of the blank sheet, is now playing a more and more essential role in the phase of dissemination.
Once a literature has a considerable publishing output and a market of potential readers, the role of intermediary between the former and the latter becomes fundamental, and involves publishing policy, the planning of collections, literary awards, and the professionalism of booksellers. But nowadays, such a role is played essentially within the context of the mass media. It is clear that the writer who wishes to obtain considerable success with the public has to give an attractive media profile, and he or she has to do this bascially using audiovisual media.
But prestige is generated through written texts. In this sense, the hegemony belongs clearly to the Castilian-language press, which operates its prestige-generating mechanisms to the advantage of Castilian-language literature. Because of its weakness regarding prestige-generating mechanisms, Catalan literature is going through a period of tremendous confusion. For this reason, the only agreed pecking order between different works is that marked by sales figures and audience ratings on audiovisual media.
For many writers, their worst complaint against the media is not that they have not increased the prestige of their work, but simply that they have not even mentioned their work in the first place. To this extent, publicly-owned audiovisual media have not always understood the potential service they could be providing, strictly within the field of information.