YouTube Direct Hopes To Deputize Citizen Journalists


A free service, YouTube Direct invites citizen journalists to submit amateur video content to news organizations, allowing those organizations to "request, review and rebroadcast" the material as they see fit, according to YouTube.

"Built from our APIs, this open source application lets media organizations enable customized versions of YouTube's upload platform on their own websites," wrote YouTube representatives in a post to the official YouTube Blog Tuesday. "Users can upload videos directly into this application, which also enables the hosting organization to easily review video submissions and select the best ones to broadcast on-air and on their websites."

A number of news organizations are already using the service, said YouTube. According to the blog post, ABC News, the Huffington Post, National Public Radio, Politico, the San Francisco Chronicle, The Washington Post, and Boston news station affiliates WHDH-TV/WLVI-TV are among those who have used YouTube Direct already.

YouTube Direct arrives at a time when many news organizations, faced with deep budget cuts and limited resources, are relying on contributed articles from freelancers, reader communities and "crowdsourced" material to plug gaps in the content they're able to provide.

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A number of major news sites, such as CNN with its iReport feature, use similar services to accept opinion pieces and video content from eyewitnesses. Steve Grove, YouTube's head of news and politics, told The New York Times Tuesday that YouTube Direct helps media organizations "control their experience with users while tapping into the community where that activity is taking place, which is YouTube."

The service also arrives at a time when some news organizations and publishers see Internet tech giants like Google, which owns YouTube, as a standing threat to their ability to make profits, seeing as Google links and indexes their content for free.

In a much-picked-over interview with Sky News Australia earlier this month, News Corp. CEO and media mogul Rupert Murdoch said that his various properties would begin shielding themselves from Google's search spiders. The comments came only a few months after Dow Jones CEO and Murdoch lieutenant Les Hinton described Google as a "digital vampire."