Media Labor in the Age of Youtube

Gina Neff, Assistant Professor of Communication, provides a framework for thinking through the valorization of media content in emerging market conditions, with a particular focus on the work involved in making media products and the people who do this communication work.

Media and entertainment industries are undergoing significant restructuring. “Old” media are struggling to adapt in “new” media environments with increased competition for audiences, plummeting advertising revenue, and uncertain business models for content.

Neff compares three aspects of change in the way today’s media institutions manage labor: 1) the response of organized media and entertainment labor unions to digital distribution of products; 2) the proliferation of “reality” narratives in media content; and 3) the growing distribution of user-generated content, exemplified by YouTube.