YouTube And The Future Of Citizen Journalism

These days it seems that more and more of our news is being delivered via citizen journalism, including amateur video clips on the Web and postings on social networks like Twitter and Facebook. YouTube sees a lot of potential for broadcasting breaking news from citizen journalists around the world and is testing out a new YouTube News Feed this summer to bring news reporting into the hands of YouTube users. YouTube could potentially revolutionize the way we consume news, bringing citizen journalists to the forefront when it comes to broadcasting what is going on around the world.

Last week, YouTube announced their new News Feed plans. They will be publishing citizen journalism clips on CitizenTube, their news and politics blog and also Tweeting out new news related clips on Twitter at @citizentube. CitizenTube is not a new service, and it was used to track news about the Iran election protests, Los Angeles wildfires and other events in the past. However, this summer YouTube will be significantly increasing their focus in this area and we should see CitizenTube becoming much larger. YouTube users who want to share their breaking news clips are invited to tweet them to YouTube at @citizentube and include as much background as possible.

The site has also launched a new citizen journalism platform called YouTube Direct. Through YouTube Direct, news organizations can connect with citizen journalists on YouTube and easily upload breaking news videos from YouTube to their own websites. Although YouTube Direct officially launched last November, the video site is giving it a push now that they are focusing more on CitizenTube and encouraging videographers and bloggers from around the world to contribute citizen journalism clips to the site. Check out more about YouTube Direct in the video below.

According to Peter Kafka of All Things Digital, YouTube has been reaching out to local bloggers and reporters in the San Francisco area to gauge interest in a new project in which citizen videographers can help cover local news. According to Kafka, “YouTube is working with a San Francisco TV station to launch a new iteration of its YouTube Direct platform.” YouTube commented on the matter, saying:

“We launched YouTube Direct in November, and it’s been a great way for news organizations to easily leverage citizen reporting on YouTube. We’re currently experimenting with new ways to make the platform more useful, and we’ll have more to announce on that front soon.”

As of yet, nothing official has been announced about the future of YouTube Direct. However, exciting things could be on the cusp for citizen journalism. Imagine how complete our news coverage could be if everyone with a cell phone or simple video camera could be tapped for footage of breaking news events. As citizen journalism becomes more mainstream, with the help of YouTube, we are bound to get a much more complete understanding of what is going on around the world and everyone can be involved. I for one think this is very cool. What’s your take on YouTube’s News Feed project and the future of citizen journalism?