You might not expect that a website notorious for homemade videos of cute pets and teenagers doing foolish things would become an outlet for serious news coverage.
But according to a Pew Research Center Project for Excellence in Journalism study, Google‘s (NASDAQ:GOOG) YouTube is providing a platform for both professional and citizen-based reporting and analysis.
To be sure, most visitors to YouTube aren’t there for serious journalism. Still, news organizations have begun adding their own content, sometimes blending it with video content provided by non-journalist YouTube users, the Associated Press notes.
YouTube visitors flocked to the site to see unedited videos captured by average people, journalists, and security cameras after the tsunami hit Japan last year. Raw footage and on-the-ground reporting has also been posted from political protests, natural disasters and accidents worldwide – including the sinking of the Costa Concordia off the Italian coast back in January.
Pew noted that the variety of news content posted on YouTube raised serious questions about how consumers could choose between trusted, neutral news sources and potentially misleading content.