Through PRSA, I discovered a Pew Research study about the relationship between viral news searches and YouTube. Digital/virtual journalism is accessible worldwide and available in real time, as well as providing a dialogue platform for worldwide communication of views and opinions, and links to personal footage expanding on the event(s) and issue(s). Internet users are incorporating opinion into news sharing as well as journalism incorporating viewer activity, creating viral attention.
The Pew Center examined fifteen months' worth of the world's most popular news videos on YouTube (January 2011-March 2012). About 260 videos resulted by identifying and tracking the five most-viewed videos each week according to YouTube's 'News and Politics' channel. Pew analyzed the nature of the videos, the topics viewed most often, and the producers and posters of them.
The key findings to Pew's study were that the most popular videos were of natural disasters and political upheaval with intense visuals, entertaining ephemeral videos are more popular than information-based videos, citizens supply and produce the most footage, most viral videos contain both raw and edited footage and are fairly subjective, not containing individual personalities, and of course, that YouTube videos are briefer, generally lasting about two minutes in length, though YouTube video lengths vary greatly depending on the poster and topic.
In conclusion, people tend to search YouTube for videos covering current news due to its real-time updates and functionality. People tend to look for brief, concise news on the web, where we spend a lot of time during the day for both personal and work purposes (71% of Americans have used YouTube). Viewers also prefer platforms in which they determine their news agenda and content consumption without advertisements and biased information, as YouTube (though owned by Google) is not sponsored like some stations such as Fox. As to whether YouTube as a legitimate journalistic source, that is still unconfirmed due to lack of regulations, ethics, and copyright violations. YouTube is looking to a future with partnerships with Reuters and the like, which I am curious to see. This is the era of technology and it will only continue to progress with big players such as YouTube.