Love it or hate it, there’s no doubt that “citizen journalism” — the trend where ‘regular people’ record video, snap photos, and tweet live from breaking news events — is quickly gaining steam. One of the biggest catalysts for the trend has been YouTube, which gives people an easy way to upload and share the video footage they shoot from the heat of the action. And while we’ve seen some media sites, like CNN’s iReport, attempt to take advantage of this user submitted content, many news sites haven’t found a good way to integrate it. Today, YouTube is launching a new application that looks to make this easy for all media organizations. Dubbed YouTube Direct, the new open source application will allow news orgs to integrate a video upload tool directly into their sites, where they can accept and review user uploaded footage.
The new tool will allow news organizations to screen video uploads as they come in, and use the best clips for their broadcasts and on their websites. Of course, news organizations will still be responsible for actually curating the content to ensure that it’s accurate, which is a task that will require additional manpower for the more popular news sites. All video content uploaded through these tools will be available on YouTube proper as well.
My biggest concern with this kind of reporting is always credibility — oftentimes you’ll come across videos on YouTube that seem like they’re relevant to breaking news, but are unable to determine who uploaded the clip. Fortunately, as an open source tool YouTube Direct allows organizations to customize their submission process. Hopefully the more credible ones will require (or at least encourage) uploaders to leave their contact information, so that fact checkers can follow up on their video reports to ensure their validity.
News organizations aren’t the only sites looking to accept user generated videos, either — YouTube Direct will work that any site that wants to upload video content, so we should probably expect to see some more creative uses in the future.
The feature is not live quite yet, but should be up by tomorrow morning.