YouTube & News
PEJ: YouTube & News: A New Kind of Visual Journalism Is Developing, but Ethics of Attribution Have Yet to Emerge
July 19, 2012-A new kind of visual journalism is developing on the video-sharing site YouTube, one in which citizens are sharing in content creation with news organizations, a new study by the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism finds.
News is becoming a major driver of attention on YouTube, the site founded seven years ago and once best known as a place where people posted videos of a more personal nature. Over the 15 months studied, indeed, roughly a third of the most searched terms each month on YouTube were news related, according to company data.
Of the most watched news videos on YouTube during that period, more than a third (39%) were produced by citizens who often found themselves witnesses to breaking news, while 51% were produced by news organizations. Some of those professional news videos, moreover, clearly contained footage captured by citizens, though it was not explicitly attributed as such. Another 5% of the most-watched videos came from newsmakers themselves, and 5% were not labeled in a way that made was possible to know the producer.
While YouTube has guidelines about attribution, they are not consistently followed by those using the site. One of the study's conclusions is that clear ethical protocols about attribution have not developed and users may at times have no clear way of knowing the source.
"News has found a place on this video-sharing platform and in ways that are opening up the flow of information and forging new areas of cooperation and dialogue between citizens and news outlets," said PEJ Deputy Director Amy Mitchell.
These are some of the conclusions from the study, designed and conducted by PEJ, which examined 15 months' worth of the most popular news videos on the site from January 2011 to March 2012.
Among other findings:
The Project for Excellence in Journalism tracks the transformation of journalism in a changing information landscape through its annual State of the News Media report and a series of special reports. As part of the nonpartisan, non-advocacy Pew Research Center, it does not take positions on policy issues.
YouTube & News