Exploring Trends for Journalism on YouTube

iNova Media Lab team has presented the ongoing research on “Exploring trends for Journalism on YouTube: the production and consumption of video 360º in Brazil” in the IV SOPCOM Conference of Young Researchers at the University of Porto. The study is led and co-authored by the lab research group SMART: Ana Marta Flores, Janna Joceli Omena, Elsa Caetano and Cristian Ruiz. The project has been developed since May 2018 with the intention to identify signals that can punctuate emerging trends in journalism on YouTube. The research design accounted for the production and the consumption of 360 videos in Brazil, and it was advanced by Trend Studies and Digital Methods perspective.

In the conference, the group presented some preliminary findings and insights, for instance, the fact that official news media YouTube channels are still approaching the 360 technology in an experimental character. In most of the cases, the 360 video production follows traditional parameters and ways of doing videos for Journalism purposes. In these cases, journalistic 360 videos seem to not interest the YouTube audience. However, a small portion of journalistic YouTube channels have adopted the 360 grammars, and as a response to that, these channels have succeeded in terms of audience response – views and like metrics. To get further details about this project, see the full presentation here or read the abstract below.

[abstract]

Exploring trends for Journalism on YouTube: the production and consumption of video 360º in Brazil

Ana Marta M. Flores – Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina | Nephi-Jor | I iNOVA Media Lab
Janna Joceli Omena – Universidade Nova de Lisboa | NOVA FCSH – iNOVA Media Lab
Elsa Caetano – Universidade Nova de Lisboa | NOVA FCSH – iNOVA Media Lab
Cristian Ruiz – Universidade Nova de Lisboa |  iNOVA Media Lab

Emerging technologies have set the agenda of journalistic practices around the globe, and the immersive characteristic is one of the main attempts of journalistic organizations – namely The New York Times, The Guardian, The Washington Post, Folha de S. Paulo, etc., and specialised dossiers in the field (Associated Press, 2017; Reuters Institute, 2017; Knight Foundation, 2016; Google News Lab, 2017).

The 360º video is one of the already recurring uses of immersive journalism, in which the user can explore all the angles of a particular piece of journalism, creating a personalised experience of consumption. Some key questions emerge in this background, for instance, what is the relevance of observing the impact and appropriation of these tech-trends for Journalism? How journalism appropriates 360 video technology in its current practices? In response to these questions, we propose a broader approach that considers sociocultural trends as a strategy to think innovation in journalism. Our perspective about trends originates from Trends Studies (Gomes, 2013, 2016; Rech, 2017), a transdisciplinary area that brings together tools to identify standards in order to innovate. Through such a joint approach, new experiences of consumer news content can be observed in journalism practices.

The objective of this study is to identify signals that can punctuate emerging trends in journalism on YouTube, accounting for the production and the consumption of 360 videos. We look into a corpus of Youtube content through the research approach proposed by Digital Methods (Rogers, 2013), drawing Brazilian journalism as our case study. To accomplish our goal, we look closely at (i) the journalistic production and (ii) the consumption of 360º videos. The first (i) considers 360° video owned by journalistic media channels. The second (ii) reflects YouTube’s search function and its ranking culture (Rieder et al., 2018), that is what people find, watch and consume when searching for video content. Data collection (a period of eight weeks – ongoing) is driven by two modules of YouTube Data Tools – video network and video list modules; data analysis is led by Gephi, Rankflow and Raw.

The preliminary findings of this ongoing research points to a still experimental use/appropriation of video 360 in Brazilian newsrooms. For instance, the journalistic production of video 360 content can be associated with four clusters: culture, sports, environment and daily routine. Another interesting finding is the absence of journalistic media channels as a result of the searches on YouTube with the terms ‘journalism’ and ‘video 360’. The platform suggests several academic videos created by journalism students, experimental and entertaining videos from youtubers. The majority of the videos in the top 20 are not 360º videos.

Through suggesting to broaden the scope of Trends Studies by repurposing the digital traces and methods in media to Journalism Studies, this work contributes to the field of Journalism, Trend Studies and Digital Methods.

Keywords: journalism, youtube, 360º video, visual network analysis, digital methods, Brazil

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