The Center for Investigative Reporting (CIR) plans to launch an investigative news YouTube channel in July 2012, according to a press release. Funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the channel will spotlight videos from prominent broadcasters such as NPR, ABC News and the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, among other freelance contributors, the release said.
The CIR, a nonprofit organization that produces public interest investigative journalism, will teach reporters working for the channel how to best reach online audiences, the release said. CIR and the Investigative News Network (INN) will also coordinate to try to capture the interest of online users through social media, the release said.
Michael Maness, Knight Foundation Vice President for Media Innovation and Journalism, said in the release, “This collaboration is poised to bring investigative reporting authoritatively onto the social web. We hope it will engage audiences and expand public appetite for visual story telling.”
The timing may be right for an investigative news channel to resonate with online audiences; according to BBC News, a December 2011 redesign of the YouTube website placed more of a focus on “promoted” channels as well as adding enhancing its sharing capabilities with Facebook and Google+. Users might spend more time on the site because of these features, which could mean a great deal of potential for the CIR in gaining web traffic for its new channel.
Google reported that YouTube receives more than 3 billion clip views per day, BBC said.
The YouTube channel is not the first investigative journalism venture pursued by the CIR. As we previously reported, CIR launched the nonprofit California Watch in 2009, a Sacramento-based news organization dedicated to accountability reporting in California.
In addition, CIR recently merged with San Francisco's The Bay Citizen, announcing that the paper would be ending its partnership with The New York Times, Poynter reported. However, The Times will still contribute to other CIR sites, including the investigative news YouTube channel, Poynter said.
CIR Executive Director Robert J. Rosenthal said in the press release that one of the primary goals of the channel is to increase public awareness of the value of storytelling through video.
“We hope this initiative generates revenue that supports the work of nonprofit organizations and independent filmmakers everywhere,” he said. “Collaborative efforts like this are no longer the future of journalism, they are today's reality.”
With the ever-accelerating news cycle, video clips have certainly become an essential part of not only professional broadcasts but also citizen journalism. It remains to be seen, though, whether in-depth investigative video pieces will fare as well on YouTube as quick soundbites from news channels or amateur footage taken by citizens.
CIR and INN are optimistic about their new project.
“We believe that this channel can increase the impact of accountability journalism in a way that both engages and informs,” said INN Executive Director and CEO Kevin Davis in the press release.