Some call them vloggers, some call them creators, some call them YouTubers. Regardless of what you choose to call them, there’s no denying that YouTube stars are on the rise.This year especially, YouTubers have gone from being teen time-passers, to interviewing the president and scoring major advertising deals.However, with the increased emphasis on young, energetic web presences, one must wonder if the profession–and yes, some YouTubers can afford to make videos full-time—is one that poses a threat to traditional journalism.
When the creators interviewed President Obama earlier this year (above) –which received over 3.4 million views – many felt it was a slap-in-the-face to journalists who were not being invited to do so. For a journalist, an interview with the US President is a once in a career moment, and even after years of schooling and writing, most never do get such an interview.
“We’ve been seeing this trend over the last 10 years of the citizen journalist blurring the line,” says Gold.
Still, she adds, the trend will will not necessarily negate the need for traditional journalism.
“I think that the average person still goes to a well-respected news outlet in order to get their news.”
Rather, Gold says, she believes that the Youtubers’ interview with Obama is indicative of a new style of ‘infotainment’ that is emerging, which she claims, is a way for important issues to be shared with young people in a manner they understand and can appreciate.
“If you went to talk to any of them, they wouldn’t consider themselves journalists either,” Gold continues. “They consider themselves personalities the same way that Ellen DeGeneres doesn’t consider herself a journalist.”
Kayley Melissa is the owner of a popular Youtube hair channel. She describes herself to be an “avid consumer of video and traditional content,” and agrees with Gold’s views. Melissa says that the Youtubers interview with the President is indicative of a shifting digital landscape and that it was a necessary choice for the White House to make.
So while Youtube may be masked as a threat to journalists, it is can act as another tool to which the media will eventually adapt.
Only time will tell how journalism will change because of Youtube. It seems however, that the profession has not been killed by the platform. Rather, it has simply evolved another step.
Marketing spend on the Youtube Platform is also at a record high with US 3.9 billion spent last year.