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Communicating “CRISPR Cas-9” through online videos on YouTube


Communicating “CRISPR Cas-9” through online videos on YouTube

Nazemi, Pouria (2021) Communicating “CRISPR Cas-9” through online videos on YouTube. Masters thesis, Concordia University.

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Nazemi_MA_W2022.pdf - Accepted Version


The objective of this study is to investigate the communication of gene-editing technology (CRISPR Cas9) through online videos and on YouTube (or “the YouTube video sharing platform”). Despite much research on the communication of new and emerging technologies, CRISPR Cas9 and its representation on YouTube have never been examined in detail. The dynamic ecosystem of YouTube and the novelty of CRISPR Cas9 can help us investigate negotiations between an emerging/controversial technology and a visual media platform. This thesis thereby examined videos on YouTube about CRISPR Cas9 from its emergence in 2014 until the end of 2019. The focus was on what kind of CRISPR Cas9 videos are produced and published on YouTube, how these videos represent this technology, any tendency toward technophobia/technophilic among them, and which models – if any - of science journalism stand out in these videos.

A multi-dimensional search method was used to extract 743 videos to address these issues. After primary analysis, three-time spikes– based on the number of videos published (52 videos)–were chosen to examine in detail. This research used qualitative content analysis (QCA) to focus on the videos’ narratives and graphics and their representation of various issues. This approach generated three significant findings: (1) the number of videos was found to be comparable with other topics related to new technologies; (2) most of the videos had a positive view on the future of CRISPR Cas9 technology, but there were concerns about ethical issues with native content tending to be more opinionated toward the subject than immigrant videos; (3) new models of science journalism were not evident in the sample, but interesting signs of a sub-model of the science literacy model were found. Overall, considering the evolving and increasing role of YouTube in science journalism, this study sheds new light on various paths forward for science journalism studies in digital visual media.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > Journalism
Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Authors:Nazemi, Pouria
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:M.A.
Program:Digital Innovation in Journalism Studies
Date:10 November 2021
Thesis Supervisor(s):Secko, David
ID Code:990098
Deposited On:16 Jun 2022 14:57
Last Modified:16 Jun 2022 14:57
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