"This is the citizen journalism at its finest!": YouTube and the public sphere in the Oscar Grant shooting incident
Antony, Mary Grace
Thomas, Ryan J.
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On 1 January 2009, Oscar Grant's death at the hands of Rail Transit officers was recorded by passengers on their cellphones and later uploaded to YouTube. The videos generated significant protests among online and offline communities, and were eventually used as evidence in the ensuing trail. We conducted a critical thematic analysis to examine audience responses to this act of citizen journalism on YouTube. Results indicated that although some viewers critiqued the video quality and passivity to murder, several supportive comments praised the cameraperson's presence of mind and courage. Some viewers called for resistance and retaliation, while others advocated prudential protest. We argue that our findings necessitate a reconceptualization of traditional notions of the guard-dog media (Donohue et al., 1995) and the public sphere (Habermas, 1966) to accommodate new media technologies.