What is the relationship between citizens and news outlets? In the traditional media model, viewers only saw what the major news media outlets chose to show us. But today, news is available online, immediately after – and sometimes during – major events. And not all the content is produced by professionals; there is plenty of content filmed and posted by average people that shows their unique perspective on current events.
A recent study by Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism examined nearly 15 months of the most popular news videos on YouTube. Pew analyzed the types of videos, topics, who viewed, and who posted the videos. The results highlighted a new relationship between average citizens and news organizations. People create their own videos as well as share news videos produced by professional journalists.
Among the key findings were that the most population news videos are those which show natural disasters or political unrest, usually with graphic and intense videos. Average citizens play a large role in supplying video footage as well as being responsible for posting many of the videos which were originally produced by news outlets.
Group Activities and Discussion Questions:
1. Show the Pew Internet video on YouTube to begin the discussion:
2. Discuss why YouTube is a popular place for posting and watching news videos.
3. Discuss ethical and legal issues that arise as the result of these new practices.
4. Divide students into teams. Have students view YouTube videos on the “news” channel. What types of videos are posted? What are the viewer counts?
5. Poll students: How do they learn what is happening in the world? What news shows do they watch, or read?
6. Have students search online for the latest news stories. How are the stories posted? Who posts the stories?
7. What motivates them to watch news online? On TV?
8. How could news organizations reach their generation?
9. What is needed for visuals, graphics, content, etc.
10. Divide students into groups. Have each group develop a news outlet specifically to reach college students.
Source: Pew Internet Research, other news organizations, 7/19/12