YouTube Educating Citizen Journalists

A few interesting media-crossover stories today, but while thinking about the Wikipedia-David Rohde story (fascinating stuff, more on that later), I got distracted by a new project on YouTube via TechCrunch called the YouTube Reporters’ Center.

The concept to me is fascinating. Provide basic education and instructions to encourage more journalistic type of videos for the hopeful cell-phone-camera-reporter. TC complimented it but hinted at the motives:

The idea is sound and some of the content is rather good, and I’m sure it will provide a helpful resource for citizen reporters across the globe. Of course, it serves YouTube’s interests as well when more and more people take up the habit of filming whatever happens in their neighborhood and upload the videos to the wildly popular sharing site afterwards.

I don’t think there’s any reason to look for some dastardly rationalization for the project – YouTube is not going anywhere, and providing basic education isn’t going to help the franchise hit even more astronomical heights. This is just an interesting experiment, especially in the wake of how the service became a place for this type of content on its own during the Iran Election protests.

I think I’m most fascinated by how the media is playing along. Getting Couric, Woodward and others to participate (and many more journos to follow suit) is an endorsement of community media. This isn’t MSM trying to build blogs and Web video in an attempt to mimic the format of successful social platforms. This is them actually saying, yes, there is something out there that we can’t ignore any more. Instead of scoffing at low-quality video that delivers news that we can’t otherwise provide, let’s help folks get it right so that everyone wins.

This very well may be the most social Mainstream Media has ever been.

The Washington Post’s Bob Woodward on conducting investigative journalism


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