Honors Capstone Project
Date of Submission
Professor Seth Gitner
Professor John Nicholson
Broadcast and Digital Journalism
Capstone Prize Winner
Won Capstone Funding
Rhetoric and Composition | South and Southeast Asian Languages and Societies | Tourism and Travel
The global community is quickly growing due to the constant advancement of telecommunications across the land and sea. No longer do people have to settle for dating within their hometowns; now, they can simply sign up online, create a dating profile and search for their soul mate with just the click of a mouse.
Niche online dating is a very personalized form of internet romance. Men and women can now sit in front of their computers, type the words, “I want to date an Asian girl/guy” in the Google search bar, and dozens of ‘Asian’ dating websites will appear. This phenomenon is known as niche online dating. It is a personalized form of dating where users can specify which ethnic, gender or identity pool they want to date in. FilipinoCupid.com, formerly known as Filipinaheart.com, is one such dating website.
There is something very different about the world of niche online dating in comparison to typical online dating- the reasons behind why people participate. For her Capstone project, Marlei Martinez, a senior broadcast journalism major at the Newhouse School, sought to investigate why women living in Angeles City, Philippines participate in international niche online dating.
In the Summer of 2010, Martinez and a fellow student ventured halfway across the world to Angeles City, Philippines. She was accompanied by Sam Disston, a senior Spanish and psychology major. After travelling for 22.5 hours across twelve different time zones, having touched down in Alaska, Japan and Manila, the duo arrived in the thick of it, in the hot, humid and traffic-congested region of Angeles City.
The mission was to investigate the world of international niche online dating in the Philippines by documenting the lives of six women who participate on dating websites and/or chat rooms. For eight days, the team travelled into the barrios, villages and neighborhoods of the sprawling third world to tell the stories of different Filipina women.
After travelling to the Philippines, Martinez spent a year sifting through and editing the video footage and still photographs. She then put them all onto her Capstone website, LovetoLeave.com. Throughout the website, you’ll see the stories of women who utilize online dating for a number of reasons, such as Margie Elevera, who is hoping to find a job, Katrina Umali, who is hoping to find a “better man,” and Adelyn Acosta, who is hoping to find a way out. The website also includes a Behind the Scenes photo gallery and Behind the Scenes interactive Google map of Angeles City where viewers can actually go behind the camera and watch the making of this series from the locations the team visited.
The most important thing this team discovered throughout the making of this series is that the advancement of telecommunications across the seas not only provides people the chance for love, but a chance to leave.
Martinez, Marlei, "LOVETOLEAVE.COM: A WEBSITE ABOUT NICHE ONLINE DATING IN ANGELES CITY, PHILIPPINES" (2011). Syracuse University Honors Program Capstone Projects. 215.
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