YouTube’s New Initiative to Support Discovery of Eyewitness News Videos

Youtube in the last ten years has experienced many important news unfolding on its network in the form of generated videos. From the Green Revolution, to the Charlie Hebdo attacks and earthquake in Nepal, user generated videos have provided a unique and visceral perspective on what’s happening in the world. It also attracts a heavy viewership.

Presently, more than 5 million hours of news video is watched on YouTube everyday, and the eyewitness videos is  a vital place in the news gathering process, as the company claims in its official blog post. The company claims that it is becoming a power home for first person documentary footages.

To promote this trend further, YouTube has announced three new initiatives to support the discovery and verification of eyewitness news videos on the platform.

  • The YouTube Newswire: The Newswire feature is in a partnership with a social news agency, Storyful, since Tahrir Square protests broke out in 2011. It provides curated feed of the most newsworthy eyewitness videos of the day, which have been verified by Storyful’s team of editors. The Newswire features global and regional feeds that surface the most relevant videos in different parts of the world.
  • The First Draft Coalition: A group of thought leaders and pioneers in social media journalism will create educational resources on how to verify eyewitness media, and how to consider the ethics of using it in news reporting. This new group, called The First Draft Coalition, will consist of experts from Eyewitness Media Hub, Storyful, Bellingcat, First Look Media’s Reported.ly, Meedan, Emergent, SAM Desk, and Verification Junkie. The Coalition will develop and program a new site for verification and ethics training, tools, research, and, most importantly, case studies around the biggest news stories of the moment.
  • The WITNESS Media Lab: The company has partnered with WITNESS Media Lab to tackle the pressing human rights issues through the analysis of citizen video.The WITNESS Media Lab – in collaboration with innovators in the technology, advocacy and journalism fields – will produce a series of in-depth projects that would focus on human rights struggles as seen from the perspective of those who live, witness, and experience them. The first project from the WITNESS Media Lab will explore the impact of bystander video in bringing about justice in police brutality cases in the United States.
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With the growth in invention and adoption of smartphones worldwide, the user generated content is also catching up. And as the company claims, it is attracting more viewership than the newsfeed videos on its platform. Probable reason for which UGC content is becoming popular could be that the videos are unedited, and showcase the first hand scenario of the situation.

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