YouTube now a major source for news, Pew study shows

YouTube now a major source for news

YouTube isn’t just for cat videos anymore. A new study from the Pew Center shows that Web users are increasingly visiting the online video site for news, especially for first-person videos of natural disasters and other major events.

The 15-month study, carried out by Pew’s Project for Excellence in Journalism, found that news-related search terms were used more often than any other terms for five months during the study period, marking a notable increase in the popularity of YouTube as a source for news and evidence of change in the journalism industry at large.

“The data reveal that a complex, symbiotic relationship has developed between citizens and news organizations on YouTube, a relationship that comes close to the continuous journalistic ‘dialogue’ many observers predicted would become the new journalism online,” writes Pew. “Citizens are creating their own videos about news and posting them. They are also actively sharing news videos produced by journalism professionals. And news organizations are taking advantage of citizen content and incorporating it into their journalism. Consumers, in turn, seem to be embracing the interplay in what they watch and share, creating a new kind of television news.”

YouTube - Pew graph

From the study, Pew derived seven key findings:

  • Videos depicting natural disasters or “political upheaval” are usually the most popular.
  • Citizen-made videos play a crucial role in the YouTube news ecosystem.
  • YouTube users also post a lot of news videos created by professional news outlets; these video make up a good portion of the news on YouTube.
  • Unedited video is becoming an increasingly popular way to view events, with such video making up 42 percent of the news watched on YouTube.
  • Conversely, news “personalities” are not particularly popular, with only 5 percent of videos featuring a single person that was not directly involved in the story.
  • Short videos – about two minutes in length – are the most popular, but they are not the only clips that do well. Thirty three percent of videos analyzed were between two and five minutes. And 18 percent were five minutes long or greater.
  • The Japanese tsunami, Osama bin Laden’s assassination, and video of the homeless man with the “god-given gift of voice” were the most popular of all.

For anyone who gets their news online, this all should come as no surprise. The evolution of the journalism industry, forced by the Web, has been a long process already, and it’s still ongoing. Twitter, for instance, is by far the best place to learn about and keep up with big, breaking news stories. And yet, relatively few people get their news from Twitter. Unfortunately for traditional news organizations, it is difficult to know what platform or medium will become the go-to place, making the ability to adjust quickly to viewers’ tastes a survival necessity. For now, however, it appears as though YouTube is the place to be. 

View the full study here.

Product Review

Rylo is the 360 camera that finally makes 360 video useful

The Rylo puts a new spin on 360 video by focusing on flat, fixed-frame output. It can’t quite replace your action camera or camcorder, but it shows a glimmer of what the future of consumer video could be.
Movies & TV

The best movies on Amazon Prime right now (November 2018)

Prime Video provides subscribers with access to a host of fantastic films, but sorting through the catalog can be an undertaking. Luckily, we've done the work for you. Here are the best movies on Amazon Prime Video right now.

Make a GIF of your favorite YouTube video with these great tools

Making a GIF from a YouTube video is easier today than it's ever been, but choosing the right tool for the job isn't always so simple. In this guide, we'll teach you how to make a GIF from a YouTube video with our two favorite online tools.

The vast majority of YouTube users hit the site for how-to videos

Ever searched for a how-to video on YouTube? Of course you have. The streaming site is bursting with useful guides on how to do stuff, and a recent study has revealed that more users than ever are using it as a learning resource.
Social Media

Snapchat’s PR firm is suing an influencer for failing to influence

Snapchat's PR firm is suing a social media influencer for his alleged failure to promote Spectacles on Instagram. Actor Luka Sabbat was paid $45,000 upfront, but the suit claims he fell well short of the terms of the deal.

Urban legends for the digital age: The best scary stories from the internet

In need of some simple scares this Halloween? We've combed the internet for the best creepypastas, urban legends, and scary stories. From found footage YouTube videos to a deceptively scary wiki, these stories are sure to spook.

WhatsApp finally gives in to the lure of cash-generating ads

WhatsApp's co-founders always said their messaging app would never show ads, but once the pair quit the company, it seemed inevitable that its owner, Facebook, would find a way to incorporate them.

Shazam hooks up with Instagram Stories for another way to share songs

The latest update for Apple-owned Shazam lets iPhone users share music tracks to Instagram Stories in a few quick taps. To enable the feature, just make sure you have the latest version of Shazam loaded on your handset.
Social Media

Dine and dash(board): Make a Yelp reservation from your car’s control panel

Already in the car, but can't decide where to eat? Yelp Reservations can now be added to some dashboard touchscreens. Yelp Reservations searches for restaurants within 25 miles of the vehicle's location.

Hackers sold 120 million private Facebook messages, report says

Up to 120 million private Facebook messages were being sold online by hackers this fall. The breach was first discovered in September and the messages were obtained through unnamed rogue browser extensions. 

Switch up your Reddit routine with these interesting, inspiring, and zany subs

So you've just joined the wonderful world of Reddit and want to explore it. With so many subreddits, however, navigating the "front page of the internet" can be daunting. You're in luck -- we've gathered 23 of the best subreddits to help…
Social Media

Facebook opens pop-up stores at Macy’s, but they’re not selling the Portal

Facebook has opened pop-up stores at multiple Macy's, though they're not selling Facebook's new Portal device. Instead, they're showcasing small businesses and brands that are already popular on Facebook and Instagram.
Social Media

Facebook Messenger will soon let you delete sent messages

A feature coming to Facebook Messenger will let you delete a message for up to 10 minutes after you send it. The company promised the feature months ago and this week said it really is on its way ... "soon."
Social Media

Pinterest brings followed content front and center with full-width Pin format

Want to see Pinterest recommendations, or just Pins from followed users? Now Pinners can choose with a Pinterest Following feed update. The secondary feed eliminates recommendation and is (almost) chronological.