YouTube cu­rates eye­wit­ness videos

Los Angeles Times - - TECHNOLOGY - By Daina Beth Solomon daina.solomon@latimes.com Twit­ter: @dain­a­bethcita

When a white po­lice of­fi­cer re­cently threw a black teenager to the ground at a Texas pool party, 15-year-old Bran­don Brooks cap­tured the chaos on his cell­phone cam­era. The video, up­loaded to YouTube, trig­gered na­tional out­rage and prompted the of­fi­cer to re­sign.

Now, YouTube is fun­nel­ing sim­i­lar eye­wit­ness record­ings to YouTube Newswire, a Google News Lab pro­ject launched Thurs­day.

The pro­ject aims to cu­rate news­wor­thy videos at a time when they are fu­el­ing na­tional news top­ics such as po­lice bru­tal­ity and nat­u­ral dis­as­ters.

“We live in a world where any­one can bear wit­ness to what is hap­pen­ing around them and share it with a global au­di­ence,” the com­pany said in a blog post. “YouTube has be­come a pri­mary home for this pow­er­ful, first-per­son doc­u­men­tary footage.”

YouTube will col­lect videos in part­ner­ship with Sto­ry­ful, an online news agency that mines so­cial media for sto­ries and was bought by News Corp. in 2013 for $25 mil­lion. Sto­ry­ful, an Ire­land com­pany, had pre­vi­ously part­nered with YouTube to doc­u­ment the rau­cous protests of Egypt’s Tahrir Square in 2011.

On Fri­day, Newswire dis­played videos of me­mo­ri­als held for the nine peo­ple killed at a church in Charleston, S.C., on Wed­nes­day.

As it culls footage from in­de­pen­dent videog­ra­phers, YouTube said it is com­mit­ted to check­ing its sources, and has tapped Sto­ry­ful to en­sure proper ver­i­fi­ca­tion for the Newswire.

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