Google Launches YouTube Newswire: Verified Eyewitness Videos To Boost ‘Social Journalism’

Posted on June 22, 2015 in Sci-Tech

By Shruti Aurangabadkar:

The Internet is the biggest facilitator of the phenomenon described as the “global village”; geographical rifts matter less and less as the speed of our connections increase. Across the globe people have been able to reach out for both, information and instant contact with someone continents away. News is something that has been tremendously impacted by these developments, starting from blogs, minute-to minute Twitter coverage and aggregation and access to raw data. One of the unmined sources in this field is crowdsourcing: ability to use eyewitnesses who can provide first-hand accounts on social media.

Newswire, a YouTube Channel, is a new journalism initiative formed by the teaming up of Google and Storyful. It uses posts made by individual internet-users to integrate into a more cohesive overall story. Youtube Newswire will be sourcing eye witness videos of global and regional events and would verify it before posting. Storyful is a novel news agency, which depends on mining the social media for breaking news that has been generated by users for content acquisition. The trending news as seen on Twitter and YouTube, and to a lesser extent Facebook and similar websites, are used to find out what they think are the most noteworthy or newsworthy incidents by Storyful, which acts like a digital publisher for the individual content creators by providing exposure for stories. In this new venture, they aim to go directly to the posters of independently uploaded videos, first person documentary accounts, for the details behind any story. This is a step forward from the year-old Facebook Newswire that compiles newsworthy social content, or FB Techwire for technology related updates, only more video-based in their source. The Newswire provide location-based relevant news, based on trends both global and regional, aggregated in relevant feeds. The partnership that started since the Tahrir Square protests in Egypt in 2011 and has now evolved into an entirely innovative replacement for the morning paper with a cup of coffee.

This is not the only new development in the social media-news intersection: YouTube is also starting an initiative called First Draft Coalition that will, in addition to working on testing the veracity of videos uploaded on the website, consist of components for training, research and will have case studies on big news stories. Meanwhile in the Twitterverse, the app making waves is Periscope that allows for video livestreams with a personal, almost face-to face interaction with the “scopers”, since the audience can comment in real time to what they are being shown, and the scoper can respond in immediately. Apart from random streams that range from the adventurous to the inane, there are television news reporters who have begun to communicate with their viewers on this application, and answered their questions instantly on air, similar to phoning in, to make their reports more engaging and personalised. It has been described as being only a step away from being there in person, having a conversation.

This much is certain: we have so far only scratched the surface at the intersection of internet tools and news dissemination so far.