The other day I was browsing videos on youtube.com when I stumbled upon a video called “The Office is Closed”. In this video a number of writers from the ABC show “The Office” were venting their frustration and supporting the writers’ strike. Almost a month ago, on November 5th, 2007, members of The Writer’s Guild of America began the first strike Hollywood has seen in 20 years. As you have probably seen on the news or read online, the writers of the WGA have stopped all work and have forced TV series and talk shows to revert to reruns. I had heard about the strike but didn’t know much about the specifics, so I decided to do some research. I went to the WGA official website and found a list of demands. The first demand listed on their official website is the following: “address coverage and minimums for writing for the Internet and other non-traditional media…” This particular demand captivated my attention because, while I don’t watch TV, I definitely sneak in episodes of The Office in between checking my email and doing research online. After reading the list of demands, I found my way to unitedhollywood.com. There, I watched a three minute youtube video titled “Why We Fight” where I learned everything I needed to know about the strike. It seems that writers are not receiving any compensation for the episodes that are aired online in websites such as abc.com, or nbc.com. As a growing number of fans begin to watch their favorite shows online, writers worry, and I think rightly, that their compensations will continue to shrink.

The strike is not only massive in its presence on the streets, its presence on the Internet is growing every day and it is reaching more and more people. An article in the Associated Press titled “Striking Hollywood Writers Vent Online” mentions different blogs and videos on youtube.com that have been created by the writers and supporters expressing their frustrations. Individuals are responding to the writers’ blogs either expressing their support, or disagreeing with the riots. Many have decided to stop watching shows online until the writers get their fair share, while others have made their own youtube videos to voice their opinions.

If you have been browsing the Internet recently you might have seen how the writers have taken on the Internet – the same tool the studios and networks have been using to increase their earnings through online ads, while avoiding compensations to the writers – as a tool to bring in supporters and to communicate their demands. Digital Natives are more susceptible to content online and are more likely to pay attention and respond if this content is creative and innovative. Given their strong presence online, writers and their supporters are certainly reaching a larger audience with their creative use of digital media.

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