YouTube Unveils Tool To Connect News Organizations With Citizen Journalists
Google is unveiling a tool Tuesday that enables traditional television and online news agencies to create a platform to manage a bureau of citizen journalists. These mavericks capture life-changing events on camera and upload them to YouTube. It allows media organizations to request, review and rebroadcast these clips directly from YouTube-member pages.
YouTube Direct, a sort of "virtual assignment desk," allows traditional news agencies to tap into the content uploaded and housed on Google's video site. News agencies and people who capture community events -- from political campaign speeches to natural disasters -- on their video camera led Google to create the tool.
Steve Grove, head of news and politics on YouTube, says the tool enables media companies to tap into the community of citizen journalists who upload content daily.
Through an application programming interface (API), the open-source application allows media organizations to pull a custom version of YouTube's upload platform on their own Web site.
YouTube members upload videos directly into the application, which also enables news agencies to review submissions and select the best ones to broadcast on-air and online. A feature provides media organizations with a method to directly contact the person who shot the clip, and gives news agencies the ability to verify the content.
Although Google created the platform to allow media companies to expand their news coverage, businesses can use YouTube Direct to solicit promotional videos, nonprofits to call for social campaign support, and politicians to ask for user-generated political commercials.
The Huffington Post, National Public Radio (NPR), Politico, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Washington Post and WHDH-TV/WLVI-TV in Boston have already begun using YouTube Direct. HP has already asked for videos on climate change.
Politico launched Project Politico dedicated to discovering what citizen journalists think, such as whether they feel Sarah Palin's book helps or hurts her political campaign.
YouTube Direct lets members reach their online audience, as well as gain exposure through traditional broadcast networks and Web sites. YouTube content partners can also monetize the videos by running ads. "Users who become popular and well-known by creating good content -- one-off viral hits -- for news organizations can join the partner program," Grove says. "We can help them make money by running ads against the videos."