Karen, Kason, Man, Winnie - Week 4: "YouTube "

How does YouTube change journalism?

Traditionally, the common channels that people acquire news are newspapers, television, and radio. However, with the fast growing evolution of intellectual technology, people started to obtain news and information and even share their daily experiences through the Internet. This has brought about the establishment of YouTube, which, to a large extent, positively influences the global journalism.

First of all, the rapid development of YouTube leads to a change of news reporting format. Nowadays, people are becoming more and more concern about interaction, which provides a chance for YouTube to be progressively famous in the past 5 years. In that condition, many traditional news media agencies make use of online movie clips to report news every day. For instance, TVB uploads hot news to its official website and added a 24-hour News Report. Also, Apple Daily established Apple Action News which summarizes a news article with a video. Apple Daily also created an account on YouTube and uploads those videos onto YouTube’s server daily. Apart from Hong Kong, many news agencies of different places, especially print media, attached videos on their online news websites. Additionally, the public can check the old news archive at any time. These show that YouTube has taken news reporting to another level, encouraging videojournalism internationally.

YouTube reinforces the interaction between the journalists and the audiences. After watching the news video on YouTube, audiences can simply leave their comments about the video. It forms a direct discussion for journalists and various audiences. All the feedback can be instantly and directly gathered. Compared to traditional journalism, YouTube is a much more interactive medium for news reporting.

Meanwhile, everyone can be a journalist today. Generally, if there is something worth to be reported, media companies will send a crew to cover that event. Everyone, however, can be both a news reporter and cameraman, gathering first hand and immediate videos and uploading them onto YouTube at once. Moreover, YouTube held a campaign called “Project: Report”, which is a journalism contest for the public in early 2009. Afterwards, the Washington Times hired the finalist, who only has experience of being a freelance writer, to be its multimedia journalist. In this sense, YouTube has broken down the barriers of traditional journalism entrance.

Moreover, the videos on YouTube are current and are always up-to-date, since people are frequently uploading new videos. People could watch these videos anywhere, at anytime. Thus, people do not have to wait until the 6:30 news on TVB or wait for tomorrow’s newspaper for current events.

The videos depict scenes that are often more in-depth and first-hand than traditional media, such as TV news and newspapers. For example, the recent collapse of the 55-years-old building near Hung Hom was videotaped by witnesses who were there at the time. The video captured the live scenes of the cloud of dust from the collapsing of the building and was then uploaded onto YouTube. In contrast, TV news only broadcasted scenes of the wreckage but not the process, since the reporters did not arrive on time to record the situation.

Besides, YouTube became a source of news for journalists and news agencies. The typical example is the incident of “The Bus Uncle”. Originally, this is a video recorded by a youngster. After posting the video onto YouTube, it aroused unpredictable buzzes among the public. Eventually, it became a highly newsworthy issue. Not only did the local media cover it intensively, international agencies like Channel News Asia, CNN, and The Wall Street Journal also covered the event. The example reflects how media agencies source their news from YouTube.

YouTube allows people to search and view specific events or videos. Simultaneously, people are welcome to capture and share movies or events onto YouTube. YouTube builds up a free platform, and provides us an independent and unique way to publish assorted videos, including different political views or news. Since a large number of videos and films are available for the public to watch, many different angles of news has become our sources, which help us understand the political news in a more comprehensive way.

Moreover, many local newspapers nowadays have their own stances when they are reporting news. The mass media may criticize the news with bias, and they frame the news in different angles, which influences the audiences to build up different perceptions. To understand the entire situation, it has become more popular for people to search and view videos on YouTube. As there are many different sources uploaded and shared, people can choose what they are interested in and make their own judgment.

Although it appears that YouTube has brought a lot of advantages to global journalism, some drawbacks have also been prompted. The first issue is the violation of copyright. Many people like to record TV news and upload the clips onto YouTube. Some people also re-upload the videos produced by other journalist parties. These actions totally infringe the copyright of the original producers. Yet, in order to protect the copyright of their own news, it is difficult for the producers to terminate these people.

In addition, the credibility of the videos is often questioned by the viewers. Is the situation in the video real or fake? Because the videos are uploaded by ordinary people, not professionals, the events recorded may or may not be true, since the uploaders may have edited the videos, or that the actors are feigning. Suddenly, because of YouTube, every single thing is considered as “news.” For example, a popular video of a Chinese woman crying and whining in the Hong Kong airport surfaced on YouTube. Some people may feel that this video is fake, because the woman’s reactions appeared to be exaggerated, and the video was recorded openly, instead of secretly.

To sum up, YouTube has created a drastic change in the journalism industry. More and more traditional print media are using YouTube and online video clips as a new platform for their news reporting in order to enhance interactivity. News and rumors spread in a very short period of time. A wide range of sources is a good way to help people comprehend different events. But it also reflects a hidden problem, which may bring too much bias for people to form their own opinions. As a result, people are recommended to be critical about news, and should not believe in only specific sources of videos and news. Thus, people should connect with different types of sources in order to understand all-round opinions and information. Nonetheless, there is no doubt that YouTube is one of the most important medium for the public nowadays.





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