YouTube is increasingly a key platform of access for people eager to hear news, as users turn to the growing site to see videos of witnesses during major events and natural disasters, a new study. The Project for Excellence in Journalism Pew Research Center on Monday introduced its analysis of the most popular news videos posted during the last 15 months on the site owned by Google Inc.
They found that while hearing the news on television is still much higher than people who see news on YouTube, this video sharing site is a growing digital environment where professional journalism mixed with content created by citizens.
“On this platform there is a new form of journalism in video,” said Amy Mitchell, deputy director of the Project for Excellence in Journalism. “How the relationship between news organizations and citizens is more dynamic than we have seen before in most other platforms.”
More than a third of the videos that most people saw were placed by citizens. More than half came from news organizations, but sometimes the shots of those videos incorporating footage recorded by YouTube users.
The earthquake and subsequent tsunami in early 2011 in Japan was the most watched news event by the users during the study, which covers January 2011 to March 2012. The Japanese videos are included surveillance camera footage of a news network and a vessel of Japan Coast Guard, which are a typical variety of sources.
Often the videos were observed with a dramatic event like this. Other popular events were the election news in Russia, popular unrest in the Middle East, the collapse of the stage of a fair in Indiana and the Italian cruise ship accident Costa Concordia.
“One thing that emerges here is being able to witness as part of a process of news consumption,” said Mitchell. “Many of the news views discussed here are really powerful images.”