While Meta works to distance itself from news content, YouTube’s looking to provide a more comprehensive and engaging experience around breaking news events, via a new, topic-based news coverage feed, as well as a new funding initiative to help newsrooms utilize short-form content.
First off, YouTube’s rolling out dedicated streams of related coverage for breaking news events, which will enable users to get more in-depth insight into specific stories.
As you can see in this example, YouTube’s new “news watch page” experience will display various reports on a chosen topic when you tap through on that subject, ranging from official news reports, to Shorts, live broadcasts, and more.
As explained by YouTube:
“To open the watch page for a specific news topic, click on a video with the newspaper icon on the homepage or in search results. The news watch page will pull together content from authoritative sources across video on demand, live streams, podcasts, and Shorts, allowing viewers to deep dive and explore multiple sources and angles.”
That’ll make it easier to get a more in-depth understanding of a news event, essentially guiding YouTube users to further reports that they can watch around a news event, in order to help them better understand the various angles and elements.
Of course, the “authoritative sources” element is likely to spark some debate as to how YouTube decides what content to display, and exclude, from these new feeds. That’ll no doubt see it tagged as some form of alternative news censorship, but the idea is that this will give users an easier way to dig into the coverage for a specific news event, via a range of official reports and insights within the app.
Which might also help to keep them from stumbling down conspiracy rabbit holes, which has long been highlighted as a key issue for YouTube in exploring certain topics.
YouTube says that the new news watch page experience is being rolled out to users in 40 countries, with desktop and connected TV integration to come.
On another front, YouTube’s also launching a new “Shorts Innovation Program for News”, which is designed to help news organizations utilize short-form content, the fastest-growing content format in the app.
“To start, we’re working with over 20 organizations across 10 countries, and providing a total of $US1.6 million. Over the next year, YouTube specialists will work with news organizations, including Univision in the U.S., AFP in France, and Mediacorp in Singapore on Shorts content strategy and video production best practices.”
The idea is that this will help to bring more official news coverage to Shorts, ensuring that YouTube users are well-informed across all of its content surfaces.
These are good options to help ensure that YouTube users are getting authoritative news coverage in the app, though again, it will also trigger alternative news supporters, who’ll view this as an effort to suppress expanded views.
But rather than distance itself from what news content that people share and engage with in its app, YouTube’s working to amplify more trusted coverage, and ensure that users are getting the right info, and are not being indoctrinated with extreme, unfounded concepts, based on world events.
This is especially important for younger audiences, which is why the Shorts funding initiative is a key element.
Hopefully, it’s another step towards slowing the spread of misinformation in social apps.