Sure, we all know YouTube to be a source of entertainment—whether it’s looking for a clip of an old favorite TV show or your neighbor’s home video of her singing dog—but YouTube as a major news source? You bet; and a global one at that. A recent Pew study found that while TV news still reigns, more and more viewers are turning to YouTube in search of eyewitness videos to major news events. During its 15-month study (January 2011-March 2012) of the most popular news videos on YouTube, Pew found the Japanese earthquake and tsunami to be the most viewed video news story with the Russian elections, the grounding of an Italian cruise ship and the collapse of a stage at an Indiana fair, also topping the list. With 88% of Americans alone owning a phone or smartphone with a camera, it makes sense. People can shoot video on their phones and immediately upload it, offering viewers on-demand access to events, making ‘citizen journalism’ and, it seems, YouTube a news source to be reckoned with.
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