Posted by: zachputnam | October 21, 2015

Audiences Influencing News Media Circulation, Criticism, and Content (or at least trying to)

In the Introduction of Spreadable Media, the authors state “Audiences are making their presences felt by actively shaping media flows.” The video below and the context in which it was “spread” demonstrate this idea in several ways. I found this on a Reddit thread, where users share and vote for links posted from other sources. The video itself is posted on a YouTube channel named Harmful Opinions, which appears to be managed by a self-appointed media critic. The channel gathers headlines and news stories to critique them, albeit in a rather unprofessional and Anonymous-influenced way.

This video critiques the way news organizations covered a Facebook post written by Chris Mintz, a hero of the Roseburg, Oregon, shooting who was shot multiple times while trying to help others. Mintz is clearly a standout human being, and it’s great that he has gotten more attention than the shooter in many stories, such as this profile from the Washington Post. Thankfully, Mintz is recovering in the hospital. He recently wrote a lengthy Facebook post about his experience, and said that he wanted to make his statement on Facebook because he didn’t “want any media outlet to alter it in any way,” which is a pretty great example of a savvy news consumer trying to control their own story.

But the video illustrates that the media did reinterpret his statement to fit their pre-existing narratives and focused on the phrase “like he was playing a video game.” How much influence can the audience really exert on what the mainstream media produces?

Full Mintz statement: 0:53-6:55

Media criticism starts at 6:55

Warning: some profane language.


  1. I ran out of words, but I did want to add this disclaimer: Browsing some of Harmful Opinions’ other videos, I found some very unprofessional and possibly hateful sentiments. This is one of the risks of consuming media from non-mainstream sources: they may not have the sort of ethics and values we are accustomed to from established organizations, which I often find refreshing. Although I do think the video that I posted here makes some pretty interesting points, I do not endorse the Harmful Opinions YouTube channel or recommend them as a news/analysis source.

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