Thursday, July 3, 2008

PBS uses YouTube to change TV

You may not think of public broadcast television at the cutting edge of innovation, but PBS is proving otherwise. A trio of traditional media organizations, including PBS, The New Republic, and the National Review, are teaming up with social news site Reddit to create an experimental new interactive news program called YourWeek that allows people to actively participate in determining what news stories get reported.

Using Reddit, which allows users to vote stories up and down and have conversations around particular items, YourWeek producers, "search out the smartest conversation and stories from your world" and use the wisdom of crowds to determine what stories they should cover.

Basically, it's "the traditional weekly "story meeting" with 10,000 people (or more) instead of just the small editorial staff," said Erik Martin, the online producer for YourWeek, who took the time to explain the start-up's strategy to Citizentube.

"We'll post questions to the Reddit community, ask them for the best angles on stories, or just ask them which headlines from the front page they'd like to see explored on the show."

The YourWeek team then posts drafts of each of the video story segments online (here on YouTube) and solicits feedback from the community, which they then incorporate into the final version of the episode. After the show is completed, the discussion continues back on the web and users can start suggesting content for the next episode.

"Ideally," Alexis Ohanian, co-founder of Reddit, told us, "it's 24-7 news program that marries the quality of PBS journalism with the vast resources and timeliness of the Internet."

YourWeek is still in beta, so it's hard to say if this is the future of television just yet -- but our curiosity is highly piqued. Stay tuned!


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