YouTube and YOU on your Local News?

Matt passed this little tidbit my way this afternoon from our friends at Cnet.

YouTube is experimenting with adding a link to some local areas to create what they call a YouTube Direct Platform for local video bloggers andjournalists.

According to the SF Weekly blog site, YouTube isapparentlyconducting an experiment in the Bay Area to get San Franciscocitizenry and bloggers to participate in their own version of Local News Coverage.

Seems like an interesting idea if it will also link to the local TV station’s site. They’re all hurting for both viewers and ad revenue and this might give them a boost, albeit, it could also eliminate the need for local reporters who aren’t covering a whole lot of local news in the first place, but merely rehashing national news poorly.
On the other hand, will we be seeing an extraordinary number of not-so-necessary fender-benders, ambulance chasers and cute puppies-romping-in-the-park videos? Or solid coverage of local events with a real interest or social need?
Case in point: here in the small hamlet of Videomaker’s headquarters, the (one) local TV station and the newspaper both covered a cool event happening last weekend, the recent Bicycle Music Festival, where cyclists converged at key points all day for a collective “pedal power” to all use their cycling energy to power the electrical needs of the festival. A very cool event, that, coincidentally, originated in San Francisco, Ibelieve.
Veryinterestingand it just screams of possibilities of great footage, nat sound, good jolly fun, yet, neither the paper or the TV station had images of the bicycles doing their pedal-power magic. Instead, they had boring wide shots of people sitting around doing nothing, because, apparently, the staff journalists who were PAID to be there must have arrived at the wrong time for the best shots and didn’t bother staying around, or they obviously don’t read Videomaker so they have no understanding of what “compelling” coverage is about!
I had to find information about the festival from local producers Bruce Jans and Jim Miller and other footage of the event from YouTubers “boogabaah” and “Nyndex“to see it in action, since I was unable to attend. after seeing the local coverage, I said, “heh.. so what.” After seeing the YouTubers footage I was sorry I missed the event.
I, for one, would gladly put my 20-year-old “Video Journalist Hat” back on to cover events like this if someone wanted to see some better local coverage.
Instead, I sadly see a future of videos of the usual sort local news covers: poorly lit council meetings, shaky sporting events, and needless car-accidents that affect only the peopleimmediatelyinvolved and extremely one-sided biased political battlesinstead ofcompelling, correct and concise coverage.
However “Citizen Journalism” IS the way of the future. Videomaker just published a feature on Hybrid Journalism by writer Dave Sniadak,with some tips for people looking to go in that direction. This might help the cream rise from the usual dull local fodder.

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Jennifer O’Rourke is an Emmy award-winning videographer & editor.

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