International Center for Ethics in the Sciences and Humanities (IZEW)

Dissertation Project

War on YouTube – representation of war on video platforms, a media studies and media ethical approach

By digitizing the media, digital recording techniques, processing and distribution, the possibilities of filmmakers, journalists and institutions to produce their media products and distribute them changed. It is now possible for journalists and filmmakers to move into crisis or combat zones with relatively little equipment and capture a comprehensive picture of the events.

While the traditional mass media, such as established news networks or individual organs of the press, still rely on traditional distribution models, videos that are recorded by actors of the war are published more and more often on video platforms such as YouTube. These videos are often created by three different groups of producers: (1) journalists who are usually integrated in a military corps as Embedded Journalists, (2) institutions such as the military, which has more than 100 years of experience in war reporting and propaganda in film and photography , and (3) individual (amateur) filmmakers such as soldiers or other people affected by war or combat actions, who film the events with phone or action cameras and publish them in unedited form via video platforms.

The focus of the dissertation is the analysis of documentary videos of those three groups of producers as they are published primarily via the online video platform YouTube. The guiding research question is: How is war represented in a documentary style on YouTube or similar video platforms of the so-called web 2.0. The analysis shall deduce the formal-aesthetic structures of the videos and determine what kind of design governs the documentation of war in this relatively untapped field of war reporting. In a further step, the thesis asks, among other things, for the development and form of different publics, the various functions of the individual "video genres" and the legitimacy of showing dying and killing in real situations.


Marc Sehr
Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen
International Cenre for Ethics in the Sciences
Wilhelmstraße 19
72074 Tübingen

E-Mail: marc.sehrspam 
Tel: ++49 / 7071 / 29 77516
Fax: ++49 / 7071 / 29 5255