Monday, November 23, 2009

Now Citizen Journalists Have Their Own Channel--YouTube Direct

Last week YouTube announced that it was launching YouTube Direct, a new service that looks to be aimed at making citizen journalism and even greater factor in our lives.

I've also blogged on this on crisisblogger because I think this is a significant milestone in the inexorable march to a post media, as in post mainstream media, world. Certainly the mainstream media (CNN, ABC, NYT website) etc. will be using this to enlist the aid of 300 million plus citizen journalists out there who happen to be carrying cell phones with video cameras. YouTube Direct makes it easier than ever for them to get the big story videos from them but also enables them to request them. Those looking for attention, notoriety, a boost in a new career can look at what stories the media assignment editors are looking for and go get them for them.

But even more significant than this is realizing that channels like YouTube are becoming the mainstream media. What is available to the media is available to you, me and everyone else who has an interest in whatever is being reported. Faster, more direct and conceivably more easily searchable.

The process of instant access to relevant information is already well established. It is completely changing the rules of crisis communication as has been discussed here and is discussed on any blog talking about the new communication realities. But emergency managers have an even more complex and confusing issue to face: how to respond when the public knows more than you do? Think about that for a minute. Those impacted by almost any major event for which you are preparing will increasingly have instantaneous access to an overwhelming amount of reporting. Everyone is a reporter, everyone is an audience and the distinction between them is disappearing. How will your plans and actions as someone responsible for the lives and health and safety of citizens be changed as a result of the high levels of information available to them?

That's the critically important subject I hope we can explore together here in the next little while.

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