Being a reporter takes more than a video camera and the willingness to put yourself in harm’s way. There are skills and techniques that every good news gatherer should know, and to help out, YouTube (s GOOG) launched its new Reporters’ Center over the weekend.
The new section features videos from top journalists doling out advice on a wide variety of reporting topics. Katie Couric explains how to conduct a good interview; NPR’s Scott Simon discusses how to tell a good story; and Bob Woodward talks about investigative journalism. The Reporters’ Center will also be a place where aspiring citizen journalists can “learn practical and ethical tips, like how to fact check your stories, avoid breaking the law while reporting, and adhere to journalistic principles.”
The Reporters’ Center is a timely addition to the site, considering just how much the Internet is changing the face of journalism. During recent crackdowns on protesters, YouTube provided Iranians with an outlet to let their stories be seen. CNN’s citizen journalism site, iReport, saw a spike in submissions from Iran; and the mobile phone-filmed death of “Neda” punctuated the protests with an all-too-real tragedy.
Mobile video uploads to YouTube have increased 1,700 percent in the last six months, and the power to report instantly on a developing story has never been greater. But with that greater power comes more responsibility to ensure that the story being told is accurate and fair, and the Reporters’ Center should provide a good place to start.