My aim for this video is to express how young people – especially teenagers – are underrepresented in the news media when there is a debate surrounding gun control in the US. Following the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, survivors took to social media, namely Twitter, to organise protests which led to The March for Our Lives movement. This took place across the United States following the shooting in Parkland and was a rally to protest gun violence. It was organised primarily through social media. On 24 March 2018, millions participated in school walkouts across the nation, where students demanded tougher action on gun violence. (Deng 2018) These protests gained strong media interest, as well as interest from police and Congress.
I am linking this assessment loosely to the Week 6 topic – policy intervention. More specifically, I am linking it to a lack of policy intervention in terms of US gun control. I am not necessarily making a pro-gun control statement with this video, as I do respect the 2nd Amendment rights of Americans, however, I am focusing on the shooting at Marjory Stoneman as a prime example of how American youth are not being given an equal opportunity to comment on policy intervention. As a result, they have been forced to establish their own voice on social media – which can be a positive thing in terms of generating interest in their political arguments, such as The March for Our Lives walkouts across the country. Word-of-mouth is also something that is becoming increasingly easier to achieve through social media. Interventionists such as Emma González have rapidly developed an online following and fan base on Twitter, something that would have taken much longer to achieve through traditional media channels such as television.
In the video, I have utilised various editing techniques to show this throughout the clip. I have used split-screen to juxtapose video from March for Our Lives walkouts against videos of various pro-gun personalities making passionate statements on US national television. I have also superimposed several screenshots of Tweets by the surviving students at the end of the video in an effort to show how social media has been imperative to aiding the students taking action. My video is attempting to make the point that despite these students’ voices being small, social media is giving them the ability to share what they want to say without having to go through traditional media channels.
My research process involved watching videos and reading news articles about the shooting in Parkland. This is where I noticed that young people weren’t being given an equal amount of time on television programs to discuss the issues surrounding the gun control debate. There seemed to be an inequality in representation, with TV time reserved mainly for politicians and NRA spokespeople. Due to the digital divide and growing popularity of social media platforms, traditional/legacy media such as television is a medium becoming less important for young people. Younger people tend to be voicing their opinions namely through social media channels now, such as Facebook and Twitter. Fakhoury 2017 says that social media, as a collaborative and participatory tool, plays a key role in delivering public service value to citizens. And this is true in terms of people like Emma González and fellow Parkland shooting survivors taking to social media to organise March for Our Lives.
Deng, O 2018, March for Our Lives was Born on Social Media, Crimson Hexagon, accessed 12 August 2018, <https://www.crimsonhexagon.com/blog/march-for-our-lives-was-born-on-social-media/>.
Fakhoury, R 2017, Can social media, loud and inclusive, fix world politics?, The Conversation, accessed 12 August 2018, <https://theconversation.com/can-social-media-loud-and-inclusive-fix-world-politics-74287>.