Are YouTube creators journalists? | The Tylt

Are YouTube creators journalists?

YouTuber creator Shane Dawson recently dropped a docuseries on controversial fellow YouTube star Jake Paul, who has 17 million YouTube subscribers, only fueling the debate over if we can trust creators to act as journalists. Dawson calls himself a journalist, as both an interviewer and documentarian. Some argue YouTube creators and other social media influencers are credibly taking on reporting roles. But critics say YouTubers don't hold a code of journalistic ethics. What do you think?

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Are YouTube creators journalists?
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#TheyArentJournalists
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Are YouTube creators journalists?
#TheyArentJournalists
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Mainstream media and writers have called out bad relations between the news media and YouTube, and often argue that YouTubers are not journalists. Reporters are servants of the communities and the public they cover, while YouTubers are more about gaining followers and building a revenue stream through advertisement. Erica Lenti wrote on Medium about the dangers of calling YouTubers with little to no journalistic ethics, like Shane Dawson, journalists. Here's why:

With a background in filmmaking and, more recently, videos taste-testing junk food and burning everyday objects in microwaves, Dawson is not an authority on mental health, or in the least, a journalist. But that doesn’t matter. YouTube, while a platform that has made possible the sharing of intimate moments, relatable content, and a community where mainly young people can come together in pain and trauma, has (like any social network) also become a vessel for misinformation and irresponsibility. And Dawson’s docuseries on Paul has become a stark example of how badly that can go wrong.
These two episodes alone exhibit the worst of YouTube at the present moment. Dawson, whose new format of longform documentary-style videos that have taken off incredibly in the past few months, has showcased an opportunity to dive into important, heavy, and sometimes controversial topics in a way that isn’t mired by the constraints and limitations of mainstream media. But working independently in this case shows what can go very wrong: There are no ethics—other than personal ones, which Dawson adheres to when he asks his viewers not to send hate to Paul’s mother in episode three—to keep in check, no standardized rules or considerations to make before publishing. Dawson is not a journalist; his main goal is not uncovering truths but gaining views. It results in unprofessional fear-mongering, diagnosing someone with a mental disorder without their consent or knowledge, and trivializing mental illness.
#TheyArentJournalists

YouTube creators are about building their own brand, not about serving the public with a code of journalistic ethics. They can literally write, "report" or document as they see fit without any ethics in mind.

#TheyAreJournalists

But others argue, like it or not, YouTube creators and other types of social influencers are part of the news media landscape. Some take it upon themselves to report or document topics themselves, or even cover their own selves and communities, which may be a little more nuanced than some trained journalists would like to admit. Back in 2017 for The News Market, Conor O'Grady wrote: 

They are just about the hottest property in entertainment at the moment but now YouTubers, Instagrammers and Snapchatters are not only making news; they’re breaking it too.
We are all used to the concept of brands tapping into the new generation of online celebrities. Just look at YouTube star Jack Maynard. The 22-year-old has visited Niketown in London and been on a quest to find the ultimate Tinder pick-up line in two sponsored videos within the last month. While that level of branded content is commonplace in the world of YouTube, it now seems that media outlets are also starting to place their faith in the influencer.
#TheyAreJournalists

And YouTube creators like Dawson argue they are taking on the roles of reporters and covering issues that YouTube viewers actually care about.

FINAL RESULTS
Entertainment
Are YouTube creators journalists?
A festive crown for the winner
#TheyArentJournalists
#TheyAreJournalists