YouNews: It’s Coming

Guess what the hot new gadgets are for local TV stations? Answer: Devices that allow the quick and easy ingestion (non indigestion) of viewer-generated content. Businesswoman conducting job interview in brightly office.

Why in the world would a TV station fill its newscast with poorly shot video? Because it’s cheap.

In fact, think about carving out a YouNews space in your market where people shoot stories and get their mugs on the air. Believe me, there is a large contingency of the population that would work as a TV newsy for free. Same goes for cops, doctors, and a lot of other seemingly glamour-soaked professions.

Hell, look at me – I’m filling the virtual pages of the Seattle P-I for free. Am I a hero, or a goat? It’s a valid question.

Anyway, in the case of TV, a YouNews model is possible. The newsroom could consist of a few writers with desktop editing who basically produce wheeling segments to tape – a local news version of a lot of the syndicated car chase and accident clip show programming you see on cable.

Put some anchors in the chairs who can ad lib to video – have some local knowledge and can help write good segments to tie a bunch of random video together – and dual-purpose for weather and sports clips – and you’ve got soup. No reporters, no assignment editors, no photographers, no ops, no chopper, no nothing – nothing but writer/producer/editors crunching homemade video.

Look at Project:Report on Youtube (brought to you by Sony) and you’ll see that the media companies are salivating over the idea that they can train a whole new generation of free content producers who are more than happy to submit content for free, or for a free iPod or something.

Really, you might find a TV station pulling a Google – just aggregating content produced by others for free.

I’m not promoting this for one of the big brands, but it sure as heck could be a solution for an also-ran looking to do something out of the box. Really, it’s just Youtube on TV, and I’ll bet we’ll see it somewhere in the not-too-distant future.

I happen to know that there is one outlet in this market already considering it – and not just for sports as is the case right now.