Newsflash: A friend just called to tell you that there's an abandoned convertible teetering over the edge of a bridge, about to fall into the river just a mile from your house.
a) Return to the couch and finish watching the season finale of Lost, which you TiVoed last week.
b) Turn on your laptop to see if CNN has published a story yet on its website.
c) Grab your video camera and sprint to the scene of the action, ready to capture the car's dramatic plummet into the rushing waters below.
If you answered c, you might be one of the many citizen reporters here on YouTube -- those who may not be practicing journalism for a living but are certainly helping to tell news stories that might not otherwise be covered by mainstream media outlets. More and more users are reporting the news on YouTube every day, which is why we're dedicating this week's Trendspotting Tuesday to the burgeoning community of citizen reporters on the site offering alternative perspectives on the news.
A few weeks ago we spotlighted how users in China had used YouTube to share video clips from the devastating earthquake in the Sichuan province. We've noticed lots of other types of on-the-scene accounts: from raw tornado footage captured by dare-deviling storm chasers facing harrowing twisters to rarely seen perspectives from soldiers in Iraq on life in a combat zone. Still others have contributed more in-depth investigations on social issues like the panhandling and check-cashing problems in urban America and international incidents that haven't gotten much attention in the press. Here's the full playlist.
Today, anyone with a camera can participate in reporting and spreading the news, and they're doing it right here. So make sure to check out the latest breaking news stories on YouTube, and stay tuned to this blog on Friday for an announcement about a new channel type that will officially recognize citizen journalists on the site.
As always, if you see great reporting and journalism being done by your fellow users here on YouTube, hit me up at CitizenNews@youtube.com.
The YouTube Team