Report cites YouTube as top source of news

It says something about both society and the ever-morphing face of journalism that "news is becoming a major part of what Americans watch on YouTube."

That statement is part of the findings from the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism. The project examined 15 months' worth of what it called the "most popular news videos" on Google-(Nasdaq: GOOG) owned YouTube and tracked the five most viewed videos in the site's "news and politics" location each week during a time span from January 2011 to March 2012.

"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," a summary of the report explained.

Traditional print journalism sources have been migrating toward offering more video content on their sites, but still rely on the printed word. In the case of YouTube, "citizens are creating their own videos about news and posting them," the report said, as well as "actively sharing new videos produced by journalism professionals." News organizations, it added, are "taking advantage of citizen content and incorporating it into their journalism."

The biggest concern with this burgeoning space is that it might be outpacing standards that more traditional journalistic sources maintain, such as attributing and validating content.

Because "clear ethical standards have not developed, it "creates the potential for news to be manufactured or even falsified without giving audiences much ability to know who produced it or how to verify it," the report continued.

In a final qualifier, the report noted that YouTube's news viewership figures are "probably still outpaced by the audience for news on conventional television worldwide."

For more:
- here's a report summation

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