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YouTube breaks the news with Newswire, a channel for verified eyewitness videos

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YouTube might be the go-to video service for cuddly cat videos, but it has also played a big role in the news with eyewitness videos. News reports of events like the Charlie Hebdo attacks and the protests in Ferguson featured firsthand video footage from YouTube. Now, YouTube is making a specific channel for verified, eye-witness coverage of happenings around the world.

YouTube has partnered with Storyful, a social news agency, to launch YouTube Newswire, which is a YouTube channel that will show a curated feed of the most significant eyewitness videos of the day from around the world. These videos will be verified by Storyful’s editing team and will be embeddable from the original sources. With so many hours of eyewitness video available on YouTube, journalists and newsrooms are likely to come across footage even before they appear on Newswire.

Verifying such footage is critical to the credibility of any news organization, so the First Draft Coalition is here to help. It will be made up of experts from Eyewitness Media Hub, Storyful, Bellingcat, Reported.ly, Meedan, Emergent, SAM Desk, and Verification Junkie. The Coalition will develop a site that will be the place to go for learning about how to verify eyewitness media and understanding the ethics in using such footage. The site won’t launch until the fall, but the Coalition has a Medium collection you can check out now.

A third project known as WITNESS Media Lab will include innovators in the technology, advocacy, and journalism fields. The Lab will produce a series of projects examining the “human rights struggles as seen from the perspective of those who live, witness, and experience them.” The first project will look at how effective bystander video is in bringing justice to police brutality cases in the U.S.

It seems like every time you turn on the news, there is some sort of video being shown that was uploaded to YouTube, so it can’t be a surprise that 5 million hours of news video is watched on YouTube every day. Today’s announcement of three initiatives means that eyewitness videos will play an even bigger role in our lives.

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Robert Nazarian
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