In attempt to both democratize and curate the torrent of eyewitness video taken during news events, YouTube, the most robust repository of video on the planet, has launched their version of a news service, called YouTube Newswire.
It will be a primary source of raw footage, and journalists can use it to track breaking news. Newswire will house global and regional stories, supplemented with a Twitter feed (that already has more than 20,000 followers) and a daily newsletter.
When someone records and uploads footage from a trending an event to YouTube, Newswire’s team will be looking to find it, verify it, and add it to a stream of similar videos from that event.
This move shows YouTube’s continued desire to be seen as a destination for content. The announcement of Newswire comes on the heels of YouTube Gaming, a game streaming service designed to compete with Twitch.
The collective internet hasn’t had a good track record reporting the news. In a bellwether case of internet sleuthing, the bombing of the Boston Marathon in 2013, Reddit users raced to piece together the facts of what happened. The untrained masses of the internet quickly disseminated false information with such certainty that it even ran on the front page of the New York Post.
To curb these kinds of mistakes, YouTube is partnering with Storyful, a news agency cutting its teeth on social media curation. Storyful gathers, curates and produces news packages based on social media, and says it relies heavily on YouTube to do so. Storyful has worked with YouTube before, notably on a (now-defunct) YouTube news channel called CitizenTube that focused on curating video from the Arab Spring in Egypt.
YouTube also announced the First Draft Coalition, a group of online news organizations and think tanks like Verification Junkie and Eyewitness Media Hub, dedicated to training social media journalists in verification and ethics.