Giving Validity to the Rogues

There are a few stories here. In our first one, YouTube offers space to news organizations  to host content from their contributors (in other words, citizen journalists). YouTube Direct is a solution that allows videos posted by users to be directly uploaded to those news sites, where they can be moderated and posted. It will expand the reach of the reporting capabilities of news organizations, and capture in an organized way the stuff that is already finding its way to the video site. And it could seem like a death knell to actual journalists who might view this as a way to validate the journalistic tendencies of those untrained hordes who break stories on Twitter. YouTube members upload videos directly into the application, which also enables news agencies to review submissions and select the best ones to broadcast on-air and online. A feature provides media organizations with a method to directly contact the person who shot the clip, and gives news agencies the ability to verify the content.  The Huffington Post, PR, The Washington Post, Politico and the SF Chronicle are some early adopters. It is an easy move for HuffPo, which already has significant video presence. For NPR, known mainly as a radio venue, which is just breaking into the world of visuals, this could end up being a noble experiment. Mark Stencel, Managing Editor, NPR Digital Media  said, “We’ve been experimenting with new approaches to explanatory journalism through our multimedia offerings for some time and are ready to invite our audience to take part more fully. We see strong evidence that they want to engage based on their activity on YouTube, Facebook and Twitter.  This audience of creative, smart and well-informed people will have a fresh take on any question or topic, and we’re eager to see and share their work.” NPR’s first foray into this new realm came in the form of a call for science-related submissions for a program called “WonderScope”, and the Huffington Post has asked for submissions on climate change. Politico launched Project Politico dedicated to discovering what citizen journalists think, such as whether they feel Sarah Palin’s book helps or hurts her political campaign.

YouTube is hoping that their new service, which is free, will ultimately be used by businesses other than news organizations, including non-profits and advocacy groups. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/17/business/media/17youtube.html  Meanwhile, in San Francisco, as we reported some months ago, a startup called Allvoices is a site that is already dedicated to the journalistic offerings of people like you and me (as long as neither one of us is an actual journalist). Citizen journalists tend to be in the right place at the right time as news is breaking.  But what they don’t usually do is go looking for it, and then do tons of research to add depth.  Allvoices, which has over 4 million readers, and about 200,000 contributors from 180 countries, has decided to expand its focus by adding a network of professional reporters to add the very depth that’s lacking. Allvoices says it will select a limited number of professional contributors in key cities and on key beats, reports,  says Mediabistro . It will pay them up to $250 a story, with potential bonuses for high-traffic pieces.

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