YouTube over the years has served as a media source for news organisations and citizen journalists providing millions of viewers with news around the globe. This media platform has allowed news organisations, and increasingly, citizen journalists to post their stories on a frequent basis for easier view and access to interested people.
A recent research project by the Pew Research Centre’s Project for Excellence in Journalism analysed various popular new stories on YouTube and determined that there was a relationship between citizens and news organisations. Not only were citizens sharing their own work but those of the news organisations as well.
The ethical dilemma lies in what they are sharing. To what extent is this news piece taking into account safety laws for example when depicting children? Citizen journalists post information that may be copyrighted by the news organisations. There is also the problem of falsification and verification. With a YouTube video, there is little knowledge regarding who produced the video and how to verify the sources.
YouTube recently announced a tool that aims to improve citizen journalism and give journalists an opportunity to take their news one step further. This new tool allows videos to blur people in order to protect anonymity, which provides security in conflict zones and to children. This can be beneficial in the long run but poses a difficult challenge in verifying sources.
Have a read of Journalism UK’s “YouTube adds Face Blurring as Citizen Journalism Tool” which describes the pros and cons of the this new tool for citizen journalists.