“I Killed a man.” A YouTube Confession Gone Viral

Step 1. If you haven’t watched the video already, you should.

Through class, I have learned the importance of having a vast variety of media forums. The basic ones are familiar, but some I find applicable yet underestimated. One of which is YouTube, a website designed in 2005 for video-sharing: uploading, viewing and commentary. Though started by a group of former PayPal employees, the medium is widespread, reaching a large audience and fairly simple to navigate.

I have reason to believe the the size of the audience and the easy accessibility YouTube has provided the perfect place for Matt’s confession.

The video, which starts off with an adapted voice and pixelized video, is unique and draws viewers’ attention to the words being spoken, rather than to physical characteristics. If listened to closely, Matt, the confessor himself, acts as his own whistle blower, speaking about lawyers who told him he could get off with no charges after killing a man while driving drunk one night. Though there have been claims that the apology is not sincere, as it was scripted, the words chosen were done so with care, each meaning something and adding to the story.

The video translates into reality at just the right moment. The change away from pixelation and voice adaptation fits right with Matt’s personal introduction.

I think the decision to solely include Matt, opposed to other visuals, perhaps on the crash or the deceased, puts a spotlight on one man’s story/perspective.

And it was timely, as just days after the video got its millionth hit he was arrested. And he followed through with pleading guilty.

This story highlight was in particular fascinating because Matt is just an average boy. It is conflicting because it is both tragic and heroic. The video lets you decide for yourself.

YouTube allows for open commentary, which of course was followed with open discussion. And thoughts were not censored.

Critics of the video call it a political strategy to get sympathy from the judge, but from a journalistic standpoint all I can say is that it is influential, started a movement and a video that has brought a new perspective to justice.


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