YouTube announced today a trio of initiatives designed to expand the video-sharing site’s role in new media journalism, including eyewitness news. Most notably, the company is launching a service called YouTube Newswire in partnership with social news agency Storyful, which will introduce a curated and verified feed of the day’s most newsworthy events being published to YouTube.
YouTube and Storyful have partnered up in the past, notes YouTube in a blog post detailing the news – the two have worked together since the protests broke out in Tahrir Square in 2011. And even before that, Storyful had been working to verify and contextualize YouTube videos, the company says. Since 2010, the team has vetted over 100,000 videos published to Google’s YouTube site.
YouTube and Storyful also previously partnered on channels like CitizenTube, YouTube Politics, YouTube Human Rights Channel, and others.
With YouTube Newswire, however, YouTube and Storyful are further cementing their partnership in an effort to provide journalists with resources related to breaking news from around the world, including first-hand accounts from eyewitnesses.
“The noise and the need for curation have never been greater — and neither has our team’s commitment to creating the best social journalism,” News Corp-owned Storyful states, referencing the launch of the new service. It says that the deluge of user-generated videos has grown significantly over the past few years. When it began working with YouTube in 2011, 48 hours of videos were uploaded to the platform every minute. Now that number has reached 300 hours.
This is not the first time Storyful has worked with a major Internet company in this capacity. The agency previously partnered with Facebook on a similar initiative, when Facebook launched FB Newswire last year. As with YouTube, the Facebook newswire service is also meant to help surface, vet and curate user-generated content across the social network, and then make it simple for reporters to embed that content into their stories.
The value in Storyful’s work is not just the ease-of-use – it’s that the items are verified, making them “safe” for reporters who are looking to augment their coverage of a story with social media content. Having tools on hand to aid in verification are useful in today’s age of real-time reporting, where news breaks on social media services like Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, and then quickly becomes widely distributed before being fact-checked. On that front, Storyful has helped to debunk video hoaxes in the past, including that twerking video that went viral, for example.
YouTube Newswire is also launching at a time when YouTube is losing some ground as the tool of choice for those witnessing breaking news they want to share – Twitter now has a live streaming service called Periscope, and it has an independent competitor known as Meerkat. Both have been used to capture user-generated accounts of news stories, including things like the Amtrak train crash, a building collapse in New York, a car chase in L.A., behind-the-scenes videos from political debates and more.
In addition to YouTube Newswire, YouTube is also launching two other efforts aimed at supporting and verifying news videos posted on its site.
One is The First Draft Collection, a group of social media journalism experts who will team up to develop a new website launching this fall dedicated to video verification resources, including ethics training, tools, research, and case studies derived from the biggest news stories of the moment. On board with this effort are experts from Eyewitness Media Hub, Storyful, Bellingcat, First Look Media’s Reported.ly, Meedan, Emergent, SAM Desk, and Verification Junkie.
YouTube is also launching the WITNESS Media Lab in partnership with WITNESS, to produce a series of in-depth projects that focus on human rights struggles. The first project will explore the role the bystander video plays in U.S. police brutality cases. The new site is live now, and also offers a Twitter feed.