The video-sharing site YouTube has become a major news outlet with content contributed users, according to a study from the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism.
The report used the March 2011 earthquake in Japan as an example of user-sourced news, saying that in the seven days following the quake, the 20 most news-related videos on YouTube centered around the disaster. Most of the video footage was recorded by locals and some news outlets used the videos in their reports.
In the report, Pew examined 260 of the most popular news videos on YouTube over 15 months, saying that the content is user-produced, varied, and is recorded via smartphones or portable video cameras. Natural and manmade disasters as well as political upheavals are usually the most popular.
After the Japan earthquake, elections in Russia were the second-most popular news entries, and unrest in the Middle East was third, according to the report.
“In 2011, news events were the most searched term on YouTube four months out of 12, according to YouTube’s internal data: the Japanese Earthquake, the killing of Osama bin Laden, a fatal motorcycle accident, and news of a homeless man who spoke with what those producing the video called a ‘god-given gift of voice,’” Pew said.