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Media Research

For my final paper, I will be researching the Youtube user, “sxephil”, and the news source, the New York Times. Both follow up on recent events occuring around the world, but one takes a more humorous perspective when broadcasting the stories. I believe the best method of media research to use will be Media Ecology. It is the study of “media environments and how those environments may affect people and society”, so not only will I be looking into how the news sources compare and contrast, but the particular audience each source it attempting to target and how that plays into news information in modern society.

Youtube, the video sharing website, is an extremely large media environment with an immense amount of public information (usually in the form of user uploaded videos). So anyone can access it at any given time which gives user the ability to show people around the world different forms of information. What the user “sxephil” does, are small 2-4 minute videos highlighting the daily news in a very entertaining manner. Most users who would not usually watch the news, might rely on information they get from users such as “sxephil”, because some may find other news sources to be dry and boring. This gives the Youtube media environment a lot of power, because most of their users are young users.

The New York Times is also a large media environment, consisting of reports and stories done by certified reporters. A lot of the stories nowadays come in the form of articles, podcasts, and even video as well. The difference with Youtube is, is that this news source is aiming at a much older and educated generation (which is seen through advertisements on their webpage). It is also not as entertaining as some of the other Youtube news sources, but it provides stories with a lot of detail and many times provide more objective, than subjective statements. This makes it more credible than the Youtube sources (hypothetically speaking), but the way each individual interprets varies constantly from person to person. This is why I am using this method to study the media environments as well as how they affect each story being told.

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  1. February 23, 2011 at 1:26 am

    A media ecology study looks at broader question such as, how is YouTube changing the way we as a society think of “news”? However, it seems like you may be more interested in a cultural studies approach that looks at how we can have different audiences for different news stories. You’ll also want to note that sxephil is derivative; e.g., he doesn’t actually generate news that others then follow up on (as did, say, Matt Drudge who built a career on questioning mainstream reports). This is going to shape the evidence you find, as I think you’ll find that rather than making an argument that challenges mainstream positions, he’s playing with the news and putting it in the service of building his brand & his humor. He is mostly interested in building the Phil brand, not in telling or even questioning original stories (or maybe I’m wrong, but that’s what I found in my quick review of his stuff). In a sense he’s more like Colbert than like an alternative source — but if you want to argue he’s promoting an alternative perspective, then you can discuss what that is and give evidence of it. The fact that he’s funny to college students or less dry and boring isn’t necessarily evidence that he’s got a different perspective from the mainstream. Look for how he questions media reports or questions politicians in a way that’s different from other sources – that might generate a good example of a differing perspective.

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