YouTube have launched ‘YouTube Newswire‘, service aimed at curating newsworthy user-generated content. The service represents a more focused approach to YouTube’s longstanding role in breaking eyewitness news, although Google could be paving the way for a Meerkat/Periscope competitor. Youtube Newswire has been developed in partnership with Storyful, a Dublin-based social news agency that YouTube have partnered with since the 2011 Tahrir Square protests. The newswire section of the site will feature a curated feed of the most newsworthy eyewitness videos of the day, which have been verified by Storyful’s editors.
YouTube say they 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 move is a sign of the strategic shift at YouTube, where the platform is becoming more comfortable in its own skin and is more focused on doing what it does best, rather than mimicking TV. It’s going to be interesting to see if news publishers – many of whom have concerns about Google News – will see Newswire as a threat or as a valuable resource.
YouTube also announced two other interesting initiatives aimed at making the curation of eyewitness news more ethical. ‘The First Draft Coalition’ will bring together ‘a group of thought leaders and pioneers in social media journalism’ who will create educational resources on how to verify eyewitness media, and how to consider the ethics of using it in news reporting. Experts will be drawn from Eyewitness Media Hub, Storyful, Bellingcat, First Look Media’s Reported.ly, Meedan, Emergent, SAM Desk, and Verification Junkie.
Finally, YouTube also launched ‘The WITNESS Media Lab’, a ‘new approach to tackling pressing human rights issues through the analysis of citizen video’. The WITNESS Media Lab will collaborate with innovators in technology, advocacy and journalism to roduce a series of projects that focus on human rights struggles as seen from the perspective of those who live, witness, and experience them.