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March 5, 2008

YouTube Live will revolutionise student journalism

By Dave Lee STD

We haven’t touched much on student television journalism on this blog yet, and for good reason.

There isn’t any. Or rather, there isn’t any we can watch and enjoy. Plenty of j-schools have TV modules – some even have dedicated TV courses – but the public enjoyment of this work is often restricted to the campus it is created on.

Which is all well and good, but it puts student broadcast journalists at a distinct disadvantage over their print counterparts. Aspiring TV journalists are not google-friendly. You’d never stumble across a brilliant piece-to-camera by accident. No, you would need to consciously go and download it.

And even if you got to that point, what university has the resources to be hosting all this multimedia? Not to mention the fact that many of the ‘men upstairs’ in British universities quiver in their leather chairs at the very thought of letting student journalists run riot under the university’s good name.

Is that all about to change? Yes! It certainly is! Woo hoo! Hip hip hooray! And so on. With this single announcement, student TV journalism has taken a whole new meaning.

Why? Because soon, this year, we’ll be able to broadcast LIVE using YouTube. To an audience of… millions?

Well let’s not get ahead of ourselves. To go from broadcasting to your classmates and your tutor to speaking to, for example, the local community, is pretty exciting.

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Those of us who are lucky enough to have a radio station on-campus will know how much you raise your game when it’s likely to be heard by someone who isn’t just your mate. Knowing your content is up for both legal and critical scrutiny is always healthy as well, as your skills will subconsciously become stronger and the real stresses of journalism will emerge. As will the adrenaline rush, of course.

It’s time, then, for TV tutors out there to ask themselves: ‘How can we incorporate this?”

Exact details of YouTube’s plans are not clear, but it’s fairly likely that users will be able to embed the live video into their own site, much like the way we do with normal clips now.

If convergence is the way forward – which, let’s face it, it is – then how better to teach multimedia journalism than to create a website that is rammed full of text, images, audio, multimedia and now, gloriously, live television. Every j-school has the resources to do all of this, which means every j-school should do it, no excuses.

When it comes to inspiring great, high quality work, you really can’t get much better than this.

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