Citizen journalism has come a long way, to the point that making reference to it seems dated, akin to calling the Internet the “information highway.” This decade has been shaped by news that was produced, if you want to call it that, by non-journalists. They might have been protesters or just passersby with videophones, or government employees who needed to be whistle blowers.
The new YouTube Newswire, basically a joint venture with news video collector Storyful, would have been a bolder step up a few years ago; now it just seems like a natural one because its need is so obvious. When the new channel was announced Thursday, it was the first time I realized that the instant, impactful news videos I see almost daily have been circulated largely by individuals via their own YouTube channels, or by Twitter links.
Indeed, it has, to the point that it would seem plausible Newswire could substitute for a variety of video places you visit for news now. I’m sure that’s not a possibility they’ve missed when YouTube teamed its Newswire with Storyful, which is in the business of verifying video content for news organizations and as such has been working with YouTube for years.
Storyful was acquired by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. in 2013, mindful, no doubt, of the pivotal role of video and YouTube in impacting world events. The whole world, presumably, is mindful of how Rupert Murdoch’s news organizations have left giant footprints on current events from one end of the globe to the other.
“When everybody’s telling a story,” a narrator says on a short video explaining Storyful, “which stories are worth listening to?” YouTube Newswire, now “powered by Storyful,” will be figuring that out for visitors to a channel that should become very powerful indeed.
YouTube Newswire becomes a place that will collect video from disparate sources, including established news outlets but also, emphatically, from John Q. Citizen. “Today, more than 5 million hours of news video is watched on YouTube every day, and the role of the eyewitness has never had a more vital place in the newsgathering process,” wrote Olivia Ma, head of strategy and operations at Google’s NewsLab. “We live in a world where anyone can bear witness to what is happening around them and share it with a global audience, and YouTube has become a primary home for this powerful, first-person documentary footage.”
The Nieman Lab noted, “Part of Storyful’s growth plan has also been to enter public-facing partnerships” like the one with YouTube. Nieman also pointed to Storyful’s alliance with Facebook to create UGC-cranker FB Newswire and its deal with Youku, a big Chinese video-sharing platform. NiemanLab also points out that Storyful helps YouTube creators manage their videos. Those managed videos have accumulated two billion views in the last two firstname.lastname@example.org