The dialog box for YouTube's new Fan Funding program. This one features Poynter fellow Ben Mullin.

Online news channel chosen to test YouTube’s ‘Fan Funding’

The dialog box for YouTube's new Fan Funding program. This one features Poynter fellow Ben Mullin.

The dialog box for YouTube’s new Fan Funding program. This one features Poynter fellow Ben Mullin.

The Young Turks, a YouTube-based network that generates about 68 million views monthly, has begun to try out a fundraising platform, called Fan Funding.

The program, which is currently in limited release, allows online video creators on YouTube to generate revenue from their viewers with a “support” button. After one week of using the feature, The Young Turks has generated about $400, said Steve Oh, the chief operating officer of the network.

Currently, the feature only allows viewers to contribute by using Google Wallet, an online payment service similar to PayPal, which may have limited the number of donations, Oh said.

Under the terms of the program, donations are limited to $500. YouTube collects five percent of the total donation, plus a 21 cent transaction fee.

Nonprofit investigative news organization ProPublica has applied to use YouTube’s Fan Funding, but hasn’t yet been admitted to the program, said Minhee Cho, ProPublica’s communications manager.

The feature comes at a time when some journalists are turning to their audiences to generate revenue for special projects. In April, Poynter reported that journalist Shane Bauer had raised $14,520 on crowdfunding website Beacon to cover U.S. prisons for a year. And in December, The Young Turks used crowdfunding website Indiegogo to generate $404,000 to finance the construction of a studio in Los Angeles.

Although the The Young Turks have had success with crowdfunding, the network tries not to rely too heavily on audience donations for fear that their readers might feel taken advantage of, Oh said.

“I don’t want even the appearance of exploitation or we’re taking them for granted or we’re looking for a handout,” he said.

Disclosure: Google, the company that funds my fellowship, owns YouTube.

Correction: The original version of this story identified ProPublica’s Minhee Cho as the organization’s communications director. She is the nonprofit’s communications manager. Read more


U.S. appeals court orders YouTube take down anti-Muslim film

Associated Press | Reuters | EFF

In Wednesday’s decision on Garcia v. Google Inc., a three-judge panel for the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ordered YouTube to remove the video “Innocence of Muslims” from its platform. It also reinstated Cindy Lee Garcia’s copyright lawsuit against Google.

The 2012 video, created by filmmaker Mark Basseley Youssef, led to riots and deaths throughout the Middle East. The 13-minute film depicts the Prophet Mohammed as a “fool and a sexual deviant.”

President Obama and other world leaders had asked YouTube to take down the video, but YouTube resisted due to “unwarranted government censorship” that “would violate the Google-owned company’s free speech protections.” Read more

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YouTube, news sites will livestream the State of the Union

President Obama at the White House on Thursday, Jan. 23. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

YouTube will livestream President Obama’s State of the Union address at 9 p.m. eastern, according to a press release from YouTube, “followed by the Republican response by Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers on Speaker Boehner’s channel. Senator Mike Lee will deliver the Tea Party response and Senator Rand Paul will offer remarks as well.”

YouTube reports that several news partners will also have coverage of the SOTU on their YouTube Channels, including The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, The Young Turks and NowThis News. Read more


Mix of amateur and professional efforts tops list of 2013 YouTube news clips

YouTube’s top trending news videos of the year include polished pieces from the Boston Globe and the Guardian and shaky, rough cell phone videos from people in Waco, Tex., and Taiwan.

“I think what’s most interesting is they are from all over the globe,” said Tom Sly, director, global head of news partnerships for YouTube, in a phone interview. “They are from traditional news outlets as well as people in the right place, or the wrong place, at the right time and captured something.”

A video caught on someone’s cell phone has as much chance to get viewers as a polished BBC interview with Russell Brand, Sly said.

“You don’t have to have incredibly high-production value in order for your content to be interesting,” he said.

Videos that made the top spots include tornado chasers in Moore, Okla., at No. 7, a cheetah chasing an impala into a tourist’s car on safari, at No. 12, and at No. 15, a spider on a weather camera totally freaking out a meteorologist.

Here are the top five trending news videos of the year:

No. 1: Meteorite crash in Russia

No. 2: Explosions at the Boston Marathon, from the Boston Globe:
Read more

Social Web

BuzzFeed to build a ‘social video studio’

BuzzFeed | All Things D

BuzzFeed will construct a “social video studio” in Los Angeles, the company announced Tuesday. The facility will include a “coffee shop and store where influencers, thinkers and celebrities will be able create informal videos made for the social web. The team will grow to over 30 people in the coming months.”

The content will be exclusive to YouTube. BuzzFeed also announced a partnership that gives the Web news organization access to CNN’s video archives so it can “create unique mash-up news videos” and lists. That content will appear on as well as on “CNNBuzzFeed,” a new YouTube channel. Here’s a first, rather treacly video:

Read more

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What happens when the military becomes its own media?

BuzzFeed | All Things D | YouTube | Facebook | Washington Post

The Israeli Defense Forces is making aggressive use of social media like YouTube, Twitter and Facebook to document and justify its latest assault on Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

BuzzFeed’s Matt Buchanan documents how the @IDFSpokesperson account “basically declared war on Hamas” and has been tweeting photos and videos of the assault. He writes:

[The IDF's] live-tweeting its assault on Hamas may well be the most meaningful change in our consumption of war in over 20 years. This is something new.

Read more

Olympics show YouTube’s potential as live-streaming platform

Mashable | The Hollywood Reporter
The Olympics shows how YouTube is shifting from an on-demand video platform to one aimed at live-streaming newsworthy events, reports Mashable’s Sam Laird. About 2.7 million people turned to YouTube to see the U.S. women’s gymnastics team win gold and the 200-meter IM race in which Ryan Lochte beat Michael Phelps. YouTube built a new streaming platform for the Olympics, according to Laird. Jason Gaedtke, YouTube’s director of software engineering, tells him:

“We certainly see strong demand in a couple verticals: gaming, sports, news increasingly — anything with a realtime or community-driven aspect to it seems to play well in this format.”

In July, PEJ reported that YouTube has emerged as an important platform for news.

The Hollywood Reporter’s Andrew Tyndall focuses on YouTube in addressing CNN’s ratings woes. The Web is CNN’s future, he writes:

CNN’s lack of ideological turf has harmed it in the ratings war as a cable news channel but helps it online, where video content, not an anchor’s politics or tone of voice, is key. CNN’s future rival is YouTube, not Fox News. …

Read more

Center for Investigative Reporting to curate investigative reporting on new YouTube channel

TechCrunch | Center for Investigative Reporting
The Center for Investigative Reporting will curate “The I-Files,” a new YouTube channel featuring investigative videos from partners such as Al Jazeera, The New York Times, and the 60 nonprofit news organizations that make up the Investigative News Network.

“The launch of the new investigative YouTube channel, The I Files, in association with INN, reflects CIR’s belief that collaboration and partnership are crucial to the sustainability of investigative, public service journalism,” said Robert J. Rosenthal, executive director of CIR. “There is enormous potential in finding new audiences to magnify the impact of all of the partners participating in The I Files.”

PEJ recently did a study of YouTube’s role in news consumption, writing:

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. 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.

The Knight Foundation is providing $800,000 for the project.

To foster video-based student investigative reporting, CIR is holding a contest in which the public will vote on the top 10 videos. The winner will receive $2,500.

Related: News events occasionally outpace entertainment on YouTube Read more


News events occasionally outpace entertainment on YouTube

PEJ | The Washington Post | Storyful
In a new study about how YouTube has become a major platform for viewing news, Pew’s Project for Excellence in Journalism reports that “at any given moment news can outpace even the biggest entertainment videos,” although non-news videos generally rack up more views over time. News events were the most-searched terms on YouTube four of 12 months. The biggest news-related videos follow the classic viral traffic pattern, rocketing in popularity over a short time and dropping off quickly. Popular entertainment videos have more staying power.

The report describes a complex environment in which citizens and professional news organizations post and share videos alongside one another, without much adherence to the ethical standards that govern TV news.

PEJ Deputy Director Amy Mitchell tells The Washington Post’s Paul Farhi that researchers don’t believe YouTube is a substitute for traditional TV news; instead they see it as an emerging way of getting news about the world.

Storyful CEO Mark Little’s take, however, is that YouTube has edged out traditional TV news:

The platform is no longer simply a supplement to the daily news diet.

Read more

How BuzzFeed’s Andrew Kaczynski mines the Internet for video gold

In a Dickens novel, Andrew Kaczynski would be The Ghost of Statements Past — haunting political candidates with visions of years-old contradictions, hypocrisy or embarrassment they would rather forget.

Andrew Kaczynski is BuzzFeed’s expert at searching for rare video clips.

The 22-year-old history major at St. John’s University has an uncanny knack for unearthing obscure or forgotten video clips from the shadows of the Internet and thrusting them back into the spotlight.

It started as a hobby, but his findings made such waves across cable news, blogs and campaign ads that BuzzFeed hired him. His article feed and YouTube channel are full of politically awkward scoops, like Mitt Romney telling Barack Obama three separate times in 2009 to copy his Massachusetts health care plan for a national program.

“You can find the history of everybody,” Kaczynski told me. “The Internet is an archive in itself now, and when something gets put on YouTube, it’s there forever. You can really find anything that you need on these people.”

Here are excerpts from our conversation about how he uncovers clips, their journalistic purpose and why other news organizations miss what he finds.

Jeff Sonderman: How did this all start?

Andrew Kaczynski: I was going to school at St. John’s University in Queens, and I started researching these videos in August and October. I started sending them out to people like Ben Smith at Politico, who now is my boss, and all sorts of other people, and it really started to take off.

I live in Kew Gardens in Queens, which is part of the 9th Congressional District, what Anthony Weiner used to represent. He resigned, there was a special election, and I was looking up videos of the candidates to replace him on YouTube.

I found this funny video of Assemblyman [David] Weprin doing a funny dance — like really awkward, incredibly awkward — and I put it up on my [YouTube] channel because I thought it was so funny. I sent it to a couple people I knew in the local news, and it got picked up and within two days it got 20,000 views.

Then when Rick Perry got into the Republican race I started researching him on YouTube and I found some of his first political ads. I put those on YouTube and sent those out to people, and those got 50,000 views.

I realized, just finding these old things, people were loving them and craving them.

Where and how do you find these videos?

Kaczynski: They really come from all over: Google Videos, YouTube, AOL Video. The C-SPAN archives are incredible — they just put it online in 2010. Sometimes I’ll find them on local news sites where no one would think they would find a video, and I’ll cut that and put it on YouTube. Sometimes they’re just embedded in RealPlayer formats from back in 2005 when that was the only video player people had out there.

The method I’ll follow is to systematically go through all the different sources. Sometimes when I’m doing specific research for a piece I’ll look for specific things, but sometimes I will just search for all videos of Rick Santorum during a certain time, maybe with the possibility it will yield something I’ll find newsworthy.

If I’m really looking for something specific — like I found this Obama video from 1991 where he was protesting at Harvard — I knew it wasn’t online but it was in the local Boston PBS archives, so I contacted them about licensing the footage. If there’s something specific that I know someone has said and I know where it is, I’ll contact people about getting a hold of it. But that’s pretty rare, usually I can find it online.

What are you trying to accomplish? Do you just want to get people’s attention or do you think there’s a higher journalistic purpose?

Kaczynski: The reason I do it is, if you can understand where people’s political positions were in the past, and you can see how they’ve changed over the years, you can really see the evolution into the political self they are today.

When I put a video up, I don’t like to put them up with much commentary from me outside of the context of what’s going on in the video. I like to let people decide themselves if somebody changing their views was out of their core convictions, or out of political convenience.

I will always make sure there is 100 percent, crystal-clear context on something. If I have a longer video where I want to cut something down to the relevant portions, I’ll put up the longer version so people can see both.

You focus mostly on video, rather than old quotes in newspapers. Why is that?

Kaczynski: I like to go with the videos a lot of times, because when people get it straight from the horse’s mouth it has a much larger impact. And people are more likely to share my stories if they can embed the video on their own site and then have a link back to my story.

I also researched and I found George Romney’s FBI file, and I put that on the site, and I found the opposition research book that John McCain’s people put out on Mitt Romney in 2009. So I don’t strictly stick to the videos, but I do like to use the videos as a great way to tell stories.

A video will live on on YouTube forever, whereas with a story someone will read it but then it will get disregarded and kind of lost after a couple weeks.

Why do you think other news organizations, other reporters, don’t do this or don’t find what you find?

Kaczynski: I think to a certain extent some news organizations miss it because they just have reporters focusing on covering the campaign and covering what people say. They don’t have as much time to research things like this, it’s not high on their priority list.

I think with me, too, I’ve just gotten so good at it by doing it continuously and finding all of these specific sites that I can do it faster than everyone else. I can just get the stuff up before other people can find it. Read more


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