YouTube News: Investigative Journalism Goes Social?


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Quite possibly, now that YouTube is in talks with the California-based Center for Investigative Reporting to launch a service aimed at the kind of deep narrative that traditional newsrooms can no longer afford. You hear that, journalists? Your mission is still thriving — just in a different context.

Traditional media folks have an understandable habit of bemoaning the implications of their professional demise. The YouTube/Twitter/beyond-ADD generation of consumers lacks depth, focus, breadth of interests; the heyday of real, objective news is over… Maybe. But what if the real impact of the information age isn’t sensory overload and desensitization, but an increased demand for ever more focused, intelligent, and available news? Everyone I know is reading, writing, listening, watching, and discussing. In what sense is that a sign of a looming intellectual apocalypse?

It’s probably only terrible from the perspective of a newspaper’s accounting department, and only there because they’re confusing business model with purpose. The exploration of interesting facts and stories isn’t confined to a newsroom.

Tell a network bigwig that YouTube will pick up the slack on investigative journalism, and he’ll probably look at you like you’ve just suggested that Yo Gabba Gabba be put in charge of literacy education. But that’s a backward-looking perspective that doesn’t align with where media is heading, which is a pretty interesting, open, and informative place.

From a PR point of view, this decentralization of media is a challenge — and an opportunity. Some editors, reporters, bloggers, and curators may be easy to target for good old relationship-building — but an unknown’s coverage could also go viral at any time, and companies have to have a much broader awareness of what is being said about them and where. They also may need a real shift in their valuation of outlets — at a certain point, a story in the Wall Street Journal could have a shorter reach than a Tumblr blog. For some markets, I’d say we’re there already.

On the scary side, Jim wrote about the crisis PR implications of new media back in December, but there is an enormous bright side, too — for companies, journalists, and information seekers. Enormous potential reach, far more granular niche targeting, and the possibility of great stories and great relationships with a vastly expanded pool of “reporters.” It may be increasingly true that everyone’s a critic, but with the right approach, you can score a slew of great reviews.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Kate Schackai
Kate combines a technical understanding of web 2.0 with classic PR savvy, resulting in online communications that both humans and Google love. She joins Crawford from WordPress development firm TCWebsite, where she worked in online marketing and search engine optimization.


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