News media are an institution where ritualized journalistic practices govern the production of news content. This study analyzes those practices in a new realm, online video, to assess whether this form of video journalism deviates from traditional standards. A content analysis of 882 videos on YouTube reveals that most news videos adhere to traditional production practices (e.g., editing techniques, audio quality), but break from common content standards (e.g., use of sources, fairness). We find that these more relaxed content practices are rewarded with a higher number of views, while adherence to traditional production practices does not predict popularity. Interestingly, online videos that are repurposed from broadcast platforms experience the greatest spike in viewership when breaking from those standards, suggesting that such deviations in traditional television news are especially valued by audiences. We discuss these results in the context of the possibility of a new set of institutionalized practices and address implications for the current and future state of journalism.

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