: Internet Video Review

“Whenever there’s a camera around, a video or film camera, it’s a great deal harder for those in power to bury the story.”—Peter Gabriel.

Sources and Documentation

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For this unit you will write a critical review of an Internet video. Unlike with previous reviews, you are unlikely to find scholarly critical analyses of most of these sources; instead briefly research the topic that the video deals with so that you have some frame of reference for evaluating its accuracy and its impact. Cite at least two sources that deal with the same issue.

Be sure that you document your sources and cite them correctly. Use hanging indent and double space (Canvas did not retain correct formatting for some samples).

Here are the instructions and samples excerpted from the Purdue University OWL site owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/747/08/ (Links to an external site.) (Links to an external site.):
A YouTube Video
Video and audio sources need to be documented using the same basic guidelines for citing print sources in MLA style. Include as much descriptive information as necessary to help readers understand the type and nature of the source you are citing. If the author’s name is the same as the uploader, only cite the author once. If the author is different from the uploaded, cite the author’s name before the title.

“8 Hot Dog Gadgets put to the Test.” YouTube, uploaded by Crazy Russian Hacker, 6 June 2016, www.youtube.com/watch?v=WBlpjSEtELs.

McGonigal, Jane. “Gaming and Productivity.” YouTube, uploaded by Big Think, 3 July 2012, www.youtube.com/watch?v=mkdzy9bWW3E.

Here’s another sample citation that includes the organization that produced it:

“Morgan Freeman: The Power of Words.” Produced by Amnesty International, YouTube, 23 Dec. 2009, www.youtube.com/watch?v=9_tCtvmAm4M.

Sample online article citation:

Woods, Andrew K. “The YouTube Defense: Human Rights Go Viral.” Slate, 28 March 2007, www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/jurisprudence/2007/03/the_youtube_defense.html.

Purpose, Focus, and Suggested Approaches for the Assignment

By this point, you have undoubtedly noted the role that technology has played in furthering the human rights movement. Since the earliest stirrings of the movement, human creativity has been linked to technological advancements to disseminate information and tell the stories that propel social change. In this era we are experiencing the revolutionary impact that digital technologies are having on every human endeavor, from work to play to social change. Thus for this unit it seems appropriate to focus on one of the most exciting developments in human rights advocacy—the Internet video. This tool enables everyone with a digital camera and Internet access to be a reporter, a filmmaker, and an activist. With so many people involved, neither repressive governments nor abusive corporations can avoid international public scrutiny or control the flow of information. What Lewis Hines’ photographs did for child labor and Dorothea Lange’s did to document the Great Depression, countless individuals are currently doing with YouTube videos.

For this assignment, explore the web and locate a video that deals with some aspect of human rights. You may focus on any of the topics that we have covered thus far, or you may investigate another contemporary issue, such as torture, sex trafficking, violence against women, police brutality, freedom of speech, persecution of journalists, demands for democracy, modern day slavery, the death penalty, etc. As long as the video addresses an issue covered by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, it will be acceptable.

Suggested Resources

Since this resource is so new and since the content changes rapidly, making specific recommendations is somewhat difficult. Obviously YouTube is an important resource. The major human rights organizations, such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, post videos on this site, along with those prepared by amateurs. Quality will vary widely, but I’m interested in exploring a broad range of materials, so the assignment is open-ended. Another significant site in maintained by WITNESS, an activist organization started by singer/songwriter Peter Gabriel to train human rights activists in the use of film to spread their messages. You will also find videos posted on many of the activist organization sites, as well as on the United Nations’ website. You may want to use one from the organization on which you are writing your semester paper.

Questions to Consider

Who produced the video? What activist organizations, if any, were involved in the production?
Under what circumstances was the video made?
When was it posted? What major events of that time influenced the video?
What is the core message of the video?
What specific information does the video convey?
What techniques were used to get the attention of the audience?
What is the mood or emotional content of the video? How is this accomplished?
Does the video include dialogue? Music? If so, how effective is it?
Does it suggest a course of action? If so, what?
How many times has it been viewed?
Has there been any response to the video? If so, what?

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