YouTube must have seen fit to promote it a bit more only recently, because the latest additions to this distinct channel on the service are a handful of how-to videos -- some only posted within the last few days -- ranging from "Katie Couric on How to Conduct an Interview to The New York Times' "Nicholas Kristof on Covering a Global Crisis." (Strangely, these videos are not embeddable, or I would have.) Kristof offers these words to live by -- literally:
The first rule of reporting is to make sure that you get back alive. That's particularly important if you're going to an area with a lot of people with big guns. There's no point in getting a great interview with a warlord if afterward he kills you and takes your video recorder.Sound advice, Nick.
Bob Woodward and Arianna Huffington also make appearances. For a site best known as the online equivalent of "The Gong Show," this endeavor seems quite highbrow. But at a time when actual paid journalists are falling by the wayside and citizen journalists are out there by the thousands, it's also not a bad idea, and not just because it provides a funnel to YouTube's news channel, or because it appears to have advertisers, which are still a relatively scarce commodity on YouTube.
Though I hardly want my news to always come from people whose journalism education consists of watching Bob Woodward's five-minute video on investigative journalism, having some basic information out there is certainly better than the alternative. The citizen journalists are here to stay, whether the news establishment wants them to stick around or not. You also have to wonder, if -- given the attention that has been paid lately to the role of Twitter in breaking news -- this is YouTube's way of reminding aspiring citizen journalists that its site is a great place to upload news.
Right now, the channel has just under 4,200 subscribers and just over 225,000 views, the majority of those seeming to have come from the new crop of recently-released videos, which are more likely to feature well-known news personalities. (Earlier ones were usually more generic, such as this Howcast video on "How to Capture Breaking News on Your Cell Phone." Though this will never be YouTube's most popular channel, it's good that this resource is out there. Now go outside and shoot some stuff on your Flip cam.
Previous coverage of YouTube at BNET Media: