A new form of journalism emerges in YouTube

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Leading video site YouTube is now the place for a new type of interactive video journalism, wherein “citizen witnesses” are sharing footage with millions of people, according to a recent study from Pew Research Center.

One prominent example is the tsunami that devastated Japan last year. In the week after the disaster, the most-watched videos about the disaster — garnering a whooping 96 million views — came mostly from YouTube members, who were in the midst of the tragedy that killed over 18,000 people.

“Citizens are creating their own videos about news and posting them”, said the report.

“They are also actively sharing news videos produced by journalism professionals. And news organizations are taking advantage of citizen content and incorporating it into their journalism”.

“Consumers, in turn, seem to be embracing the interplay in what they watch and share, creating a new kind of television news”, it noted.

The research centre describes this as an up-and-coming partnership between citizen journalists and traditional media outlets. Although most of the tsunami videos were made by members of YouTube, they obtained most of the views only after they were shared by news organisations.

Entitled Project for Excellence in Journalism, the research examined news videos from January 2011 to March 2012 and monitored the top videos in the “News & Politics” channel on YouTube each week.

Although 96 million views in just a week is impressive, it’s still less than the 155 million views that network news shows get per week.