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. 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.
That is why we’re excited to announce three new initiatives to support the discovery and verification of eyewitness news video on YouTube:
- The YouTube Newswire: In partnership with Storyful, a social news agency we’ve worked with since protests broke out in Tahrir Square in 2011, we’re rolling out the YouTube Newswire, a curated feed of the most newsworthy eyewitness videos of the day, which have been verified by Storyful’s team of editors and are embeddable from the original sources. With the Newswire, we hope to provide journalists with an invaluable resource to discover news video around major events, and to highlight eyewitness video that offers new perspectives on important news stories. The Newswire will feature global and regional feeds that surface the most relevant videos in different parts of the world. Follow us on Twitter or subscribe to the daily newsletter to get the latest videos delivered directly to your inbox.
- The First Draft Coalition: You could say that user-generated news video is today’s “first draft” of capturing an event that took place. But when it comes to incorporating this content into the reporting of a news event, verification is a critical step for any newsroom -- and not every journalist knows where to start. So we’re bringing together a group of thought leaders and pioneers in social media journalism to 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 site will launch this fall, but in the meantime, check out the Coalition’s Medium collection, chock full of how-to posts and examples of UGC verification, which we’ll update every week. You can also follow First Draft on Twitter.
- The WITNESS Media Lab: Over the past decade, YouTube has provided a platform for people to share eyewitness video of human rights atrocities around the world. In partnership with WITNESS, we are supporting the WITNESS Media Lab, a new approach to tackling 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 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. Check out the new site and follow the WITNESS Media Lab on Twitter for more updates.
We’re proud of the role that YouTube and its creators have and continue to play in the ever-changing, ever-expanding news and information ecosystem, and we hope that these new projects will empower more journalists to use powerful eyewitness video easily and responsibly.
Posted by Olivia Ma, Head of Strategy and Operations, News Lab at Google