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Behind the Scenes at the Philip DeFranco Show

“Nation, it is Tuesday! My name is Philip Defranco and this is where I talk about newsy type stuff and things that mattered to me today.”

YouTube’s not all about who can make the cutest “Charlie Bit My Finger” or the funniest “Gangnam Style” parody. Philip DeFranco, 27, prefers to talk about more important things – le gasp! – like the news.

The Philip DeFranco Show

Philip DeFranco, a YouTube celebrity, has had his “Sxephil” channel for about seven years.

Known as PDS, The Philip Defranco Show is a daily vlog (video blog) focused on news. DeFranco covers everything from current events, politics, and celebrity gossip. His style tends to be very different from a traditional news shows though.

The PDS brings a more relaxed tone for YouTube users. DeFranco includes his opinion as he tries to explain two sides of a story. Towards the end of the video, he asks a news related question to his audience. In a Tubefilter interview, DeFranco explained, “It’s more about the conversation than just informing them.”

There’s certainly a sense of community formed on PDS. DeFranco’s channel, Sxephilhas almost 2.3 million subscribers and over one billion video views. Many users have expressed in the comments how PDS is their only source of news.

Taking the Next Step

Philip DeFranco decided to take expand his idea on bringing news to the YouTube world by presenting a news channel. He called it SourceFed. In the introduction video of SourceFed, DeFranco said:

“Hello Internet! My name is Philip DeFranco and I’d like to introduce you to my new channel only found on YouTube – SourceFed… your daily destination and download of everything pop culture, news, opinion, and stuff we don’t even know about yet.”

What’s SourceFed?  

Lee Newton is one of the five hosts in “SourceFed.”

SourceFed started on January 23, 2011 as a YouTube news channel. Their headquarters are located in Los Angeles, California. They started with many shows throughout their opening such as Curb Cash, One on One, and The New Movie Thing Show.

Their staple show, Twenty Minutes or Less, became a hit, mirroring PDS. Various hosts create daily videos that concentrate on a news story. A mix of entertainment and information has made their show a success in the YouTube community.

During a Q&A panel at a YouTube conference known as VidCon, one of the hosts, Elliott Morgan described a day of work for the SourceFed crew:

“We’re there at 6AM. We get on the Interwebs and try to find things that have happened. If it’s cool and interesting, we take it and it usually takes us a couple hours from finding the story and multiple sources on it then writing something, filming it and then editing it.”

SourceFed presents five videos spread out throughout the day from Monday to Thursday. The main hosts are Joe Bereta, Lee Newton, Elliott Morgan, Steve Zaragoza, Meg Turney, and Trisha Hershberger.

“What we’re doing is that we can present an issue and then we can present the left side, the right side and everything in between. And then give our own opinions as well,” said Joe Bereta in his “What’s Trending?” interview.

Entertainment became a key to gaining their audience. The hosts add some comedic relief to their stories. SourceFed is not certainly a traditional journalism show, but their intention is to have people become interested in the news. They encourage their viewers to comment and share their opinions on their videos.

Bereta added, “If you put a little of yourself in the story… a little bit of everyone else’s opinion, and a lot of bit entertainment, I think that’s the best way to go about.”

Elliott Morgan and Philip DeFranco talking with Gary Johnson, the Libertarian presidential candidate for the 2012 election.

The show’s most remarkable projects included their coverage of the 2012 Presidential Election. Throughout the time of the election, SourceFed shared live coverage updates after debates and conventions. They even added informative videos that helped beginners understand U.S politics.

Philip DeFranco and other SourceFed hosts even had the opportunity to interview the Libertarian Party candidate, Gary Johnson.

Other videos uploaded on the channel include bloopers, comment commentaries and reviews of video games, technology, and movies.

Connecting with the Community

Almost hitting their first year mark, SourceFed’s channel includes over 600,000 subscribers and about 2.46 million views. Comparing these stats to a DeFranco’s seven-year-old channel certainly shows that SourceFed can bring a new spin to citizen journalism.

The birth of blogs revolved around citizen journalism by having people share their opinions. Vlogs have brought a even more personable and entertaining aspect to this type of journalism.

The hosts also have Twitters and separate YouTube channels. Elliott Morgan, for example, uploads vlogs on his channel, giving a snippet of his daily life and answering viewers’ questions.

YouTube most certainly has helped SourceFed stay connected with their community. Bereta said, “You’re connecting to an audience that is looking for news and information.”

Joe Bereta, Meg Turney, Lee Newton, and Elliott Morgan on “Comment Commentary.”

Every Friday, the hosts sit casually on a couch and make a video called “Comment Commentary” where they respond to their viewers’ comments. The connection between this news source outlet and its audience is certainly more unique and more laid back. There’s nothing wrong with a bunch of news junkies talking about what they think of current events.

Impact on a Younger Audience

Statistics have shown how SourceFed has also made an impact on a younger generation. There top sex and age demographics are listed below:

  • Male, 18 – 24 years
  • Male, 25 – 34 years
  • Male, 13 – 17 years

Sometimes younger demographic have trouble being interested in news and SourceFed concentrates on attracting those viewers.

“We’re trying to present the news to a generation that doesn’t care about it. We try to make it fun and entertaining but most importantly, factual and right,” explained Bereta.

The hosts still follow journalistic values on receiving accurate stories. They correct any mistakes and understand when it’s appropriate to be serious in a video.

Expanding Outside of YouTube

SourceFed has even made their organization stronger by starting a website outside of YouTube. SourceFednews.com includes a variety of written articles by the staff as they include more stories or follow-ups from their daily five videos.

The news on YouTube has transformed citizen journalism to interest the younger audience. Creating a community that involves a conversation of news might be the solution on evolving journalism.

“And of course as always, my name is Philip DeFranco. You’ve just been phil’d in. I love yo faces and I’ll see you tomorrow.”

Photo Credits: DeFranco Creative

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The Hub Bub is a collection of articles, videos, audio, photo slideshows, interactive maps and other media produced by students enrolled in journalism courses at Loyola University Chicago's School of Communication. For more about the School of Communication, our award winning faculty, and our state of the art facilities located in the heart of Chicago, visit our website.