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July 11, 2018updated 12 Jul 2018 3:37pm

Youtube pledges new features to promote quality journalism and build ‘sustainable ecosystem’ for news groups

By Sam Forsdick

Youtube has pledged to promote the work of trusted journalism on the video sharing website and is launching a number of initiatives to help support content from news organisations.

In a blog post Neal Mohan, chief product officer, and Robert Kyncl, chief business officer, outlined Youtube’s plan to support journalism at the Google-owned website.

“The work of trusted journalistic organisations is as critical as ever, especially when it comes to seeking information about current events online,” they said.

“We believe quality journalism requires sustainable revenue streams and that we have a responsibility to support innovation in products and funding for news.”

One of the new features will be a “Breaking News shelf” that will highlight videos from news organisations reporting on recent news stories and highlight them on the Youtube home page.

The blog also states that “many people want, value, and trust local news” and will promote local news stories in the Youtube app, starting in America.

In a reaction to the threat of so-called fake news, Youtube said it will also be providing more context to each video on the website.

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When searching for a breaking news story, a preview of a news article from a source that Youtube deems to be authoritative will be shown along with a link to the full article and a reminder that “breaking and developing news can rapidly change”.

Mohan and Kyncl said the reason for this feature was that “journalists often write articles first to break the news rather than produce videos”.

Information from third parties, such as Wikipedia and Encyclopaedia Britannica, will also be posted alongside videos on topical events as well as some historical events that have been subject to misinformation and conspiracy, such as the Moon landings.

Mohan and Kyncl said: “Authoritativeness is essential to viewers, especially during fast-moving, breaking news events, so we’ve been investing in new product features to prominently surface authoritative sources.”

They added: “We also believe users should be able to choose and make their own judgements about the information they consume along with context to inform their judgements.”

Youtube is promising to invest in digital literacy education, helping to teach people to understand how to verify news sources they find online.

They have teamed up with the Google News Initiative, the Poynter Institute, Stanford University, Local Media Association, and the National Association for Media Literacy Education to support Mediawise, a US-based initiative designed to equip 1m teens with digital literacy skills.

In the blog they added: “We remain committed to working with the journalism community to build a more sustainable video ecosystem for news organizations.

“We know there is a lot of work to do, but we’re eager to provide a better experience to users who come to Youtube every day to learn more about what is happening in the world from a diversity of sources.”

Youtube are looking to work with publishers to provide expertise and develop these new features for the website.

Vox Media, Jovem Pan, and India Today are early members of the working group and others have been encouraged to sign up.

They will also be sending out a support group to work with partner news organisations to train them in  audience development and how to get the most out of the video sharing platform.

Youtube is owned by Alphabet, the parent company of Google who have also been demonstrating their own support of journalism. Alphabet posted revenues of $111bn for 2017.

The Google Digital News Initiative has pledged €94m to help 59 digital journalism projects across Europe.

Youtube also developed Player for Publishers in 2016 which allowed publishers to have full control of the monetisation of their videos and retain all ad revenue.

However Youtube’s parent company, Google has been criticised by publishers for its domination of digital advertising revenue alongside Facebook.

The pair, known collectively as the Duopoly, are expected to take 71 per cent of all the money spent in the UK on digital advertising by 2020, according to analysts.

Press Gazette has called on the Duopoly to stop destroying journalism and pay more back to news publishers on whose content they rely.

Picture: Youtube

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