||This article's lead section may not adequately summarize key points of its contents. (March 2013)|
|Look up vox populi in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.|
Vox pop, the man on the street
American television personality Steve Allen as the host of The Tonight Show further developed the "man on the street" interviews and audience-participation comedy breaks that have become commonplace on late-night TV. Usually the interviewees are shown in public places, and supposed to be giving spontaneous opinions in a chance encounter – unrehearsed persons, not selected in any way. As such, broadcast journalists almost always refer to them as the abbreviated vox pop. In U.S. broadcast journalism it is often referred to as a man on the street interview or M.O.T.S.
Because the results of such an interview are unpredictable at best, usually vox pop material is edited down very tightly. This presents difficulties of balance, in that the selection used ought to be, from the point of view of journalistic standards, a fair cross-section of opinions.
Although the two can be quite often confused, a vox pop is not a form of a survey. Each person is asked the same question; the aim is to get a variety of answers and opinions on any given subject. Journalists are usually instructed to approach a wide range of people to get varied answers from different points of view. The interviewees should be of various ages, sexes, classes and communities so that the diverse views and reactions of the general people will be known.
Generally, the vox pop question will be asked of different persons in different parts of streets or public places. But as an exception, in any specific topic or situation which is not concerned to general people, the question can be asked only in a specific group to know what the perception/reaction is of that group to the specific topic or issue; e.g., a question can be asked to a group of students about the quality of their education.
With increasing public familiarity with the term, several radio and television programs have been named "vox pop" in allusion to this practice.
- Nec audiendi qui solent dicere, Vox populi, vox Dei, quum tumultuositas vulgi semper insaniae proxima sit.
- And those people should not be listened to who keep saying the voice of the people is the voice of God, since the riotousness of the crowd is always very close to madness.
The usage indicates that the phrase had long since become an aphorism of common political wisdom by Alcuin and Charlemagne's time.
- Merriam Webster; Random House
- Prato, Lou (April 1999). "Easy to Do, But Often Worthless". American Journalism Review. Retrieved 28 December 2010.
- Vox populi, vox Dei: Definition of vox populi, vox Dei, sacklunch.net
- The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Quotations,uie third edition, Oxford University Press, 1993.
- Alcuinus on Vox pops, Vox populi, Vox pop (oxfordreference.com) at the Wayback Machine (archived May 4, 2009)