Oprah Winfrey a talk show host, philanthropist, author, actress and media personality. Born in Kosciusko, Mississippi on January 28th 1954, known as one of the twentieth century’s most influential people in America and has touched many people worldwide. The Oprah Winfrey Show, The Angel Network, and Oprah’s Book Club are some of the platforms she used to influence, encourage and inspire the people of the world. Oprah Winfrey, one of the most influential, dynamic, and powerful women of today’s society, has devoted her life’s works to influencing the people of the world.
Oprah career started in In 1976, in Baltimore, Maryland, where she hosted the TV chat show People Are Talking. The show became a hit and Winfrey stayed with it for eight years, after which she was recruited by a Chicago TV station to host her own morning show, A.M. Chicago. Not long after Oprah's own TV show aired in 1986. Her show has influenced and educated people through ,she has shaped culture and made a difference worldwide, Oprah has greatly impacted the lives of others, because of Oprah many people have found the route of success and happiness.
She has used her success and resources to help those who are in need, she has donated millions of dollars to various charities and organizations, with most of her money going to three foundations: The Angel Network, The Oprah Winfrey Foundation, and The Oprah Winfrey Operating Foundation.
The Oprah Winfrey Foundation was created to operate the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls in South Africa. The Academy is a free, residential school for academically talented girls in grades 7 through 12. The girls come from disadvantaged families and without the Academy would not have a chance at an education otherwise. Oprah says that "The school will teach girls to be the best human beings they can ever be; it will train them to become decision-makers and leaders; it will be a model school for the rest of the world."
On a 1997 episode of The Oprah Winfrey Show, Oprah invited viewers to join her in using their lives to improve the lives of others. What began as a campaign to encourage viewers to collect spare change for 150 scholarships given through The Boys & Girls Clubs of America and to volunteer time to build 200 homes with Habitat for Humanity evolved into the charity known today as Oprah's Angel Network. Oprah's Angel Network, a public charity formed in 1998, was established to encourage people around the world to make a difference in the lives of others. Oprah's vision is to inspire individuals to create opportunities that enable underserved women and children to rise to their potential.
This foundation was set up to give money exclusively towards operating the Leadership Academy for Girls in South Africa. The foundation, which is sometimes called the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy Foundation, is set up to give money into special projects or to make building repairs and improvements.
It's through these three foundations that Oprah is able to extend her charitable arm far and wide throughout the world. The charities of Oprah Winfrey are a clear example of how Oprah has used her success to influence to give people opportunities to better their lives and a chance to peruse a new improved life, where anything is possible unlike before.
Oprah Winfrey has made an unprecedented impact on society and has changed the age of communication. She used her show as an avenue to discuss social issues in American society. Her topics ranged from the AIDS crisis to building healthy relationships. During the show, Winfrey utilized her hour of programing interviewing various people such as actors and singers to home makers and to the middle class and commoners. She had discussions about important issues that affected world wide societies. She created, bought, and became chairwoman and CEO of Harpo Studio’s now called Harpo Productions in the mid 90’s. With Harpo Studies Winfrey produced other shows including Dr. Phil, Dr. Oz, and the Rosie Show. However, Winfrey did not stop here. She continued to dominate television through Harpo Studios producing a number of hit shows. Her path in communications and media continued when she gained interest in cable networks. “In 1998 Winfrey became involved in Oxygen Media, which includes a cable television station aimed at women”, (Pasternak, 2009). Over time she became an expert entrepreneur investing, producing, and becoming involved in a number of programs, movies, networks, and shows.
" the Oprah effect is an expression referring to the effect that an appearance on The Oprah Winfrey Show, or an endorsement by Oprah Winfrey, can have on a business."
The Oprah Effect is utilized not only to endorse books, musicians, and products; it is also used to endorse political candidates and particular social views and ideas. Most controversial is Winfrey’s endorsement of the former democratic Presidential Candidate for the 2000 elections, Barak Obama. Oprah Winfrey talks about and brings attention to the product or issue by simply mentioning it. Once this is done, the audience is presented with information on the subject or item. With the item now introduced and presented, the audience is then given the opportunity to take on an attitude or perspective pertaining to the subject. In turn the attitude influences the viewer’s behavior, to either consume the product or idea or to reject it. “Because culture can limit and divide or liberate and unite, it offers us infinite opportunities to use communication for good- if we choose to do so”, (Baran, 2010). Oprah Winfrey has provided an example and platform for this to happen.
Another example of the Oprah Effect. "Oprah's Book Club was a book discussion club segment of the American talk show The Oprah Winfrey Show, highlighting books chosen by host Oprah Winfrey. Winfrey started the book club in 1996, selecting a new book, usually a novel, for viewers to read and discuss each month."
Oprah's Book club launched in September 1996 to inspire education and increase national literacy. The definition of the Oprah Effect is “her unprecedented ability to take companies from no names to brand names” (Scheafer, 2011). She personally selects a book and then discusses it with her audiences through her website and the television show. As a result, more than sixty of her selections have become best sellers.
Oprah Winfrey has used her position as one of the most influential and successful woman in media to inspire, educate and empower people of all walks of life, all over the world. She has influenced the way people think and has changed our every day culture. Through her foundations, she has changed the lives of people, throughout the United States and around the world and encouraged people to also make a difference in the lives of others.