Sarah Perez’s Tipping Point

This story is developing furiously fast. It appears that we have crossed some sort of a Tipping Point because Google-owned video channel YouTube (UT) announced the creation of an online Citizen News Channel, complete with a News Manager named Olivia, who promises to enable great news-clips online.  The landing page is strewn with an assortment of the usual UT items, from sublime to ridiculous.

I noted that some of the more “newsy” pieces were posted a few months ago. Obviously, Olivia did some archaeological de-archiving in UT’s virtual basement. The comments include breaking news such as “Olivia’s a hot babe” and “hellooooo.” Stuck like the only healthy tooth in a toothless mouth is a suggestion of some substance and merit, arguing that

“Citizen News should work with the Google Android Team to create an application that allows individuals anywhere in the world to capture and wirelessly, quickly and anonymously upload video to YouTube from a mobile platform. We could then use this capacity to document human-rights abuses anywhere in the world as they happen. The threat of this publicity would force regimes and individuals to rethink and perhaps restrain their use of violence.”

I doubt that UT’s Citizen News Channel will ever spin off serious competition to major news providers, but one never knows – maybe in a single moment, someone will be able to capture major world events on a cellphone or digital camera, create an impromptu podcast of a historical interview – the next Matt Drudge , or a future Abraham Zapruder may find refuge at UT.

Naturally, the blogosphere picked up on the story. Technorati – the acknowledged main point of observation on anything blog, carries over 2000 blog-references to the new channel.  Most quote ReadWriteWeb’s detailed posting that carries a list of other main media players who now offer Citizen Journalism facilities, including CNN’s ireport, Yahoo and Reuters’s You WitnessNews, the BBC’s Your News and MSNBC’s Newsvine. Read ReadWriteWeb Sarah Perez’s full posting here,- I especially like Perez’s assertion that the new UT channel aims to become “a go-to news destination on the web.” As at the time of writing this piece, the term “go-to news destination” Googles only Perez’s ReadWriteWeb article — I therefore think that she invented the term (and the concept behind it.)

To my mind, go-to news destinations are takeaway points for fast moving news.

Most major news providers are currently undergoing structural changes allowing them to receive, store, access and serve news as fast as possible. Working in small teams(‘pods’) of content experts, they will be able to churn hundreds of stories each day. Still – the cost of content generation is, and will remain, prohibitive — and so, Citizen Journalists (a Crowdsourcing name for you, me and anyone with a camera who happens to witness a newsworthy event) will supply readymade, anywhere-in-the-world-right-now type of stories. As is always the case with Crowdsourcing, the sheer number of available stories will enable ‘podsters’ (aka newsdesk) to extract even more news and make them publishable. Search engines and clever categorisation and storage devices (for example, use of content clouds) will make millions of stories available to readers 24/7.

In future pieces, I will other flavours of ‘go-to destinations’, in education, culture, politics and business. Would you like to offer any contributions to these topics?