Who’d Have Thought

Now there’s a headline I never thought I’d read – YouTube ‘becomes a major news source’. It seems professional journalism is now sitting alongside citizen journalism. Something conventional journalists have traditionally struggled with.

However as we have seen over the past few years, when a natural disaster strikes people switch to YouTube to watch it unfold, almost as it happens.

It is a turn around TV news has sometimes battled to maintain. And while it is compelling to watch mobile phone footage of a wall of water sweeping through a sleepy town, just like Twitter, verifying sources is hard to do.

But when it is fast turn around news audiences are hungry for, this is a perfect marriage. You can easily switch between unique witness accounts and your credible news broadcasters from around the world. (Inevitably you will find the news broadcasters will be incorporating the YouTube footage anyway.)

And when events unfold in hot spots like Syria, you can follow the Al Jazeera news live.

As a freelance journalist looking at alternative business models for disseminating news this is actually exciting (and surprising). The Pew Research Centre’s findings break down viewing habits and prove there is an audience for quality journalism in an unlikely platform.

Clearly YouTube has come of age. No longer seen as that vacuous portal for cat videos and dancing babies, it is now a plausible online channel for more than just catching up on news.

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