Citizens Behind High Percentage of News Content on YouTube

(Ping! Zine Web Tech Magazine) – When people wanted information on the devastating tsunami that hit Japan last year, they flocked in large numbers to video file sharing site YouTube for news reports and footage.

That issue was just one thing covered in a recent Pew study analyzing online users’ reliance on YouTube to increasingly receive news. The research firm studied news videos on the platform during a 15 month timespan, finding that 39% of the content was generated by citizen journalists. That’s a pretty high percent although 51% represented content produced by news organizations.

And the type of news-relevant content that was most watched? Most pertained to “natural disasters or political upheaval-usually featuring intense visuals,” said Pew Research.

Other results showed that majority of the videos (65%) didn’t feature a person and that the most popular both came from raw and edited content.

“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,” commented Pew in its study findings via

The top news videos watched during Pew’s research related to the Japanese earthquake and tsunami, the Russian presidential race and problems in the middle east.

YouTube was purchased by online search giant Google in 2006. Since then, news organizations and other content providers have often set up their own YouTube channels to share their produced content.