New YouTube channel to focus on investigative reporting

Above: a photo from a slideshow on a recent Center for Investigative Reporting piece “Arms race on America’s streets.” Photo Credit: Andrew Becker, Center for Investigative Reporting.

Today, Knight Foundation is announcing an $800,000 grant to the Center for Investigative Reporting to launch a new channel with YouTube. The channel, a hub for investigative journalism, will make its debut later this year with content from an array of contributors, including NPR, ABC News, The New York Times – and you.

YouTube is as much about community and conversation as it is about video – there’s a reason it is the second largest search engine. We’ve seen the importance of on-the-ground videos in the reporting of the Trayvon Martin protests, the Arab Spring, last fall’s Occupy protests and “undercover journalism” practiced by people like James O’Keefe and Project OpenWatch. This collaboration will aggregate the most relevant of those videos with content from more established producers previously mentioned.

We’re making a bet that a collaboration between leading journalism organizations and the leader in online video will result in vibrant, relevant social content. It’s a bet because it is not a sure thing. For one, we’re just not sure what users want, or expect, in terms of interactive hard news. We’re confident about this bet because of the pedigrees of the organizations involved, and the belief that they will adapt as they learn more about audience expectations and behaviors.

If successful, the channel will result in new, web-centric forms of investigative reporting—resulting in new audiences and new ways of telling important stories.

By John Bracken, director journalism/media innovation at Knight Foundation

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