Published: Wed, July 11, 2018
Global | By Marsha Munoz

YouTube investing $25M in journalism and pushing 'authoritative' sources

YouTube investing $25M in journalism and pushing 'authoritative' sources

This includes earmarking $25 million in Google News Initiative funding to create a working group of news organizations and media experts that will advise YouTube on new features.

This year, the platform was forced to apologize when a video that reached the top of its Trending section claimed Parkland school shooting victim David Hogg was a "crisis actor".

YouTube is investing $25m (£18.8m) in journalism on its platform, focusing on helping news organisations produce online videos and changing its site to better support trusted news providers.

Last year, Google Search had to address "fake news" appearing in "Featured Snippets" on the web and being offered as answers via Assistant and Google Home.

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Robert Kyncl, YouTube's chief business officer, said YouTube isn't trying to fund specific news coverage - rather, the grants are about seeding "long-term sustainable skills" for web video.

In the coming weeks, YouTube will start to display an information panel above videos about developing stories, which will include a link to an article that Google News deems to be most relevant and authoritative on the subject. "So far, local news has seen strong engagement, and we will be expanding it to dozens more markets like Cincinnati, Las Vegas and Kansas City", the YouTube execs wrote.

In addition, YouTube will provide links to Wikipedia or the Encyclopedia Britannica with controversial videos or conspiratorial issues such as the Moon landing.

Neal Mohan, chief product officer at YouTube, said: "The company is establishing a working group with global news organisations, including Vox Media, Jovem Pan and India Today, to improve news production on the platform".

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To make it easier to find quality news, YouTube has launched "Top News" shelf that highlights videos from news sources in search results.

The YouTube effort comes as Google and Facebook - companies that drew heavy criticism following the 2016 United States election for failing to prevent the propagation of false news - have been taking a series of steps to promote verifiable journalism.

As part of the partnership with MediaWise, six YouTube creators - including John Green, Ingrid Nilsen and Mark Watson - will be creating videos meant to raise awareness about digital literacy and help educate teens about identifying legit sources of news and information.

It is already available in 17 countries, including the U.S., U.K., France, Italy, Japan, India, Mexico, Brazil, South Africa, and Nigeria.

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Mohan said the new features are in effect in 17 countries, including the USA, and "we're looking to double that number in the coming months".

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