News 1.0 meets News 2.0 on YouTube Direct

“Send us your videos!”

That’s the plea that now regularly goes out from mainstream media outlets to their online audiences. Everyone is looking for user generated video content. The reasons are not hard to decipher. Those videos can help forge a tighter bond between mainstream media outlets and their audiences, and that can potentially put them on the receiving end of the first images to come from a bombing, earthquake, or nasty weather event somewhere in the world.

But so far, most mainstream outlets are finding those pleas have largely gone unanswered. Sure, they get plenty of online comments, and lots of photographs, but for videos, the pickings have been pretty slim. And one of the reasons why, is that when it comes to uploading videos to the web, most people think no further than YouTube. More than 20 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute, more than a billion videos every day. Why go anywhere else?

But now YouTube has come to the rescue of those video-starved media outlets. Last week, it launched a new service called YouTube Direct, which allows media outlets to connect to the massive YouTube community at no cost.

It has already been embraced by such online heavy hitters as The Huffington Post, Politico, NPR and The San Francisco Chronicle.

Now, visitors to those sites can upload video directly to YouTube without leaving the page.The video goes into a private moderation panel where the people running the site can apply their own editorial standards.When approved, it will appear on YouTube with a link back to the site.

The Huffington Post is using YouTube Direct to solicit videos on the climate change summit in Copenhagen. NPR is looking for people to submit videos about science for a project called WonderScope.

We’re trying to connect media organizations with citizen reporters on YouTube,” Steve Grove, YouTube’s head of news and politics told The New York Times.

And that’s a good thing.YouTube Direct appears to offer the best of News 1.0 and 2.0. It allows easy uploading of video to the web via YouTube, but unlike citizen journalism sites like Vancouver-based NowPublic or CNN’s, there is a process in place to verify the authenticity of the videos before they appear on the site.

YouTube Direct is a win for the media outlets looking for more user generated videos, for citizen journalists looking for a larger audience for their videos, and for users who want to believe that what they are watching online is true.