Just about a week ago, YouTube introduced a new functionality which surfaces up local news video which corresponds to the location of the user's IP address.
Clicking on YouTube News via my Verizon FiOS connection here in New York, I got several local video news stories under the category "News Near You." (See the bar at the bottom of this post.)
The page pulls in videos from the New York Post, WPIX and WNYC. I've posted a video done by WNYC Radio — the local NPR affiliate here.
Yahoo!, msnbc.com, Google News and others offer localized news, but they require a user to configure the page with a zip code. The YouTube automated configuration is different.
Local television news is a big business and there are a number of online efforts underway by local broadcasters and newspaper publishers. There is a big local online news effort by NBC Universal with its new NBC Local which is still in beta.
Of course NBC and local television stations have the advantage in their local television operations which create considerable news content.
YouTube, however has massive scale and news has been one its fast growing areas.
We suggest that news directors take note: might be good to get a YouTube channel up pronto — perhaps not for all the content, but at least a sample.
But the cool thing about YouTube "News Near You" is that the sources are not limited to professional broadcasters, but YouTube uploaders who are registered in the news category.
The work of local citizen journalists could become more visible.
Andy Plesser, Executive Producer