Writing the Strike: How Writers Won the 2007-8 Writers Strike and Changed TV
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I argue that television entertainment writers, their cultural status, and rhetorical skills are critical to national discourse and media structures. Focusing on the 2007-8 writers strike, the project analyzes videos that writers made about the conflict, showing how "rhetorical writers" used satire, complex argumentation, and knowledge of digital media to publicize writers' value. These "pro-writer" videos, online and on television, challenged media executives for primacy in entertainment industries and helped writers win the right to compensation when their work is viewed online. Exploring the histories of television writers and writing alongside technological and political changes, the project pinpoints a lineage of irreverent and ironic humor that contributed to the strike videos. This lineage of "rhetorical" writers and writing, which deconstructs cable news and media politics using satire, prepared writers for the 2007-8 strike by honing their skills in argumentation and activist community-building using satire.