YouTube launches channel for citizen journalists

Tue Nov 17, 2009 12:23pm EST

Chad Hurley (L) and Steve Chen, co-founders of YouTube, pose after a news conference in Paris June 19, 2007. REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer

Chad Hurley (L) and Steve Chen, co-founders of YouTube, pose after a news conference in Paris June 19, 2007.

Credit: Reuters/Philippe Wojazer

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Celebrities beware: YouTube is making it even easier for anyone with a camera phone to turn your behavior -- be it mundane or sensational -- into news.

The world's top purveyor of Internet video has launched YouTube Direct, whereby TV and online news editors can obtain video from so-called "citizen journalists" -- and even request such video be shot by amateurs seeking attention.

It's not entirely about celebrities, of course. Many news outlets will be seeking disaster footage, for example, or rowdy behavior at political town hall meetings.

News outlets seeking footage can announce it in a variety of ways, including via call-out videos posted at YouTube. When a YouTube user has video they think will interest the mainstream media, it can make it easy for editors, producers and journalists to contact them.

"News organizations always want to verify the content they use," said Steve Grove, head of news and politics at YouTube.

YouTube Direct isn't a revenue play -- either for YouTube or its users, Grove said. "It's an incentive to upload great video, because of the recognition you'll get from legitimate news organizations," he said.

Testing the service now are Huffington Post, NPR, Politico, the San Francisco Chronicle and a couple of Boston TV stations.

In a blog posting, Grove links to examples of such newsworthy user-generated video: presidential candidate George Allen's "Macaca" reference, video of a 7.8 magnitude earthquake in China and a teacher screaming at and slapping an autistic student.

Separately on Monday, Univision said it would supply Spanish-language TV shows to YouTube from its three networks: Univision, TeleFuture and Galavision.