Great local content is staring newspapers in the face … and we can’t see it. Or we choose not to see it.
Hundreds of thousands of videos are uploaded daily on YouTube. Every MINUTE of every day, ten HOURS of new video is uploaded, YouTube says.
In one month alone (January 2008), nearly 79 million viewers, or a third of all online viewers in the U.S., watched more than three billion user-posted videos on YouTube, according to Fortune.cnn.com.
And you’d be surprised how much of it is local.
Yes, there is lots of garbage and stuff we can’t touch due to copyright violations or good taste, but take a look at the results (chart on the left) of my one-day survey of local videos posted on YouTube today, this week, and this month:
Even if a measly 10 percent of the videos are terrific, that’s still dozens or hundreds of pieces of local content newspapers are not publishing today.
I checked out a couple days’ worth of the videos posted about Washington, D.C. in April: the D.C. Youth Outreach Fashion Show, an IRS protest (The Post had a story and pics but no video), the Man of Strength Award (a D.C. kid honored by Men Can Stop Rape for fighting violence against women and registering youth voters), the Filipino Festival, the speech of an Iranian princess, video of D.C. mail delivery circa 1903, a TC Williams High School Choir concert, a street trumpeter, a nutrition class for DC kids, etc.
Why do newspapers ignore or turn their noses up at this content? Beats me.
Editors can’t use their favorite excuse for not publishing bloggers (“it’s not professional or necessarily accurate and they could damage our credibility” – all the while ignoring the fact that THEY could choose which blogs to publish).
It’s free, it’s local, it’s often creative, and, most importantly, it speaks to the lives of real people, especially the folks we’re not reaching with our websites or our newspapers.
Publishing local video bloggers would be like having dozensof additional eyes on the street.
So let’s start publishing local user-generated videos on our newspaper websites. And not in the ghettos where we hide local bloggers. Put them on the theme-appropriate pages: local news videos on the news pages, sports on sports, entertainment on entertainment, etc.
And then let’s get crazy and put screen grabs of the best local videos in in the newspapers themselves. Again, in the theme-appropriate sections.
If we don’t do it, someone else will.
If local TV stations ever wake up, they will realize this is their turf and they will start putting UGC videos on their websites and broadcast them on their news programs. We will rue the day we missed our chance.
Go for it, folks. Today. Before it’s too late.