London, YouTube Torched

Today, the Olympic torch is making its way through London, where I live. Of course, it’s being covered by all the media. There’s some tension: a lot of people in this city view the torch passing as the perfect opportunity to send a message to the powers in Beijing.

The BBC covered the torch relay live. In Ladbroke grove, the sports news story became a political news story:

What’s interesting about this clip, for me, isn’t so much the fact that this happened. It’s that the video is on YouTube. The BBC, you see, doesn’t put things on YouTube. Private individuals, on the other hand, do. Which means that some member of the public lifted the above video off the BBC’s news site, and posted it to YouTube.

There were also more ‘spot news’ videos of the event posted to YouTube – like this:

This is arguably a better camera angle than the BBC news crew got – instead of a distant zoom shot, we’ve got a good shot of the protester seizing the flame, and a good look at the chanting supporters with Tibetan flags.

Granted, the camera work isn’t so smooth – it’s shaky, and there are gaps in coverage. But even in this shot you can see at least three people that were even closer to the action. Not so professional as the BBC’s guy, maybe. But niesfisch was right there, close enough to see everything, almost close enough to touch the event. And his video is newsworthy. It’s crowdsourced journalism. With YouTube going live later this year, and services like Qik already live, we’re only going to see more of this.

Everyone in the audience has a camera. And everyone in the audience can broadcast their feed live to the world. If the BBC (or anyone) can figure out an efficient way for people like niesfisch to get newsworthy video onto their own organization’s portal, instead of YouTube, in a timely and yet edited fashion, they’ll have a good thing going . . .

5 thoughts on “London, YouTube Torched

  1. You said: “The BBC, you see, doesn’t put things on YouTube. Private individuals, on the other hand, do.”

    Nonsense! They have a dedicated channel on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/BBC

    Your otherwise interesting article about citizen journalism tainted by your neglect to check the facts before you proceeded to join a popular sport of bashing the traditional media.

  2. Wow, harsh. But true. The BBC does put things on YouTube. Thank you for pointing out this oversight – I should have been more specific. Go to the BBC YouTube channel and you’ll see that it’s mainly a playground for comedy and drama clips – a very good vehicle for that kind of content, I’d say. But to my knowledge BBC News doesn’t have a mechanism in place to put news on YouTube while it’s still news, like our man niefisch did. If anyone knows otherwise, let me know.

    They do encourage the public to send in their pictures and video, but distribution is still by TV – not on YouTube. But people are going to YouTube to find this information, sometimes instead of tuning in to the TV broadcast. So the point remains: an ordinary dude with a camera phone can broadcast footage as fast as the big guys. Sometimes that guy’s footage is newsworthy. And the audience is searching for it, not necessarily waiting for the TV broadcast. So as it stands, the big guys need a mechanism to sort the wheat from the chaff when it comes to citizen-produced media, and to get it out where the people are watching.

  3. The other problem with “web 2.0 bullshitters” is that they can complain anonymously on other people’s boards. I have no truck with Sp pointing out inconsitencies, or Tripp clarifying the point, but what is the purpose of comments like Kitione’s?

    My original impression was that services like Qik, the phenomenon of live internet news, and “web 2.0” in general was that it could be used as an up-to-the-second communications tool. The idea of a news stoty breaking on cell phones before Fox get their paws on it is what the internet ought to be all about. Well… that, and pornography and MMO grindfests, apparently.

    I suppose it is extreme optimism to assume that humans will use the web for actual interaction. Trolls are everywhere, and I know that whinging while anonymous is natural to some people, but let’s do skip it here. I like this blog. Go troll myspace or something.

  4. … and when you put it that way, I agree wholeheartedly with you 🙂

    Often editorial verification processes are too slow and unnecessarily slow down publication … even if ‘publication’ is just linking to existing information on the net. Perhaps BBC should consider expanding their ‘Related Internet Links’ sidebar on stories to be a little more wide ranging – a quick search of blogs, photo sites and YouTube?

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