How Google Is Changing Journalism

As user generated content (UGC) becomes more prevalent and relied upon by journalists for reporting the news quickly, the need for authentication has grown. Google has played a large role in this. Tools like Google Search, Google Maps and others have allowed journalists to research UGC information, photos and videos so they only disseminate the facts. Let’s look at a few.

Google News Lab

Launched in mid-2015, Google News Lab aims to “empower innovation at the intersection of technology and media.” The site offers written and video tutorials and case studies for journalists so they can more effectively use Google’s tools for verifying UGC. It also includes data gleaned from Google Trends and case studies o
n how newsrooms have used this data in their reporting. TechCrunch notes, “With citizen reporters regularly turning to social media first – and not typically on Google+, the company’s own social media site – Google is working to assert the variety of other ways it has to participate in the reporting process, ranging from first-hand videos posted to YouTube to its wealth of data and information collected from the world’s searchers.”

Though the tools on the site are not new, the tutorials are; Google recognizes its role in reporting the news and is showcasing its commitment to helping news organizations report valid information.


According to Google, 300 videos are uploaded to YouTube every minute. Identifying which are original, real and timely can be difficult for reporters. Amnesty International has created a step-by-step guide for authenticating videos using the information found on the YouTube user’s video and account. Steps include viewing how many videos the YouTube user has posted in the past, hidden data on the video, YouTube account creation date, checking geographical data (is the video you’re trying to authenticate captured in the same area as the other videos posted by the same account?), checking social media accounts associated with the YouTube account, and searching YouTube with keywords found in the video in question.

Additionally, Google partnered with Storyful to create YouTube Newswire, which authenticates videos for journalists’ use.

Google Search & Image Search

After emergencies, many images are uploaded to social media claiming to be taken during or right after the emergency. Some may be real, but others may be shares of the original photos, doctored photos or old images of a past, similar emergency. For shares and old images, journalists can use reverse image search on Google to authenticate a picture. The video below outlines how to do this. For doctored images, journalists will have to use or a similar tool.


Journalists can use Google+ to join groups like Storyful’s Open Newsroom, which is a “real-time community of news professionals working together to establish the maximum clarity and context around the big stories of the day. Our objective is to debunk, fact-check, clarify, credit and source.”

Google Maps

Google Maps is a useful feature for authenticating videos and images. Do the terrain, buildings, and other identifying items in the video/image in question match that of the Google terrain maps, satellite maps and Street View images? If not, a journalist can automatically discount the content.

Google Translate

Translating can be especially important for video that is recorded and uploaded in a language a journalist doesn’t speak. For this, journalists can use Google Translate. Copying and pasting a video’s title, caption and/or subtitles into Google Translate can help with deciphering exactly what the video is claiming to be.


Curious to see what verification looks like in action? Below is an example via Nieman Reports.

(Source: Nieman Reports)

(Source: Nieman Reports)

Watch the video here:

youtube-1158693_1920*All videos in this article have been authenticated for originality.




Vimeo, A Review

Vimeo logo


Vimeo is a video-hosting site. Users can watch, upload, comment on and share videos. It is a content community as users are brought together via common interests versus personal connections. Visitors search by keywords and can subscribe to brands’ and individuals’ uploads. Here’s a short video explaining what Vimeo is (Vimeo doesn’t allow embedding of this particular video so, unfortunately, you must click to view it). 


The video-sharing platform offers many features attractive to marketers. Individual members can follow channels they like, comment on videos, upload their own videos, download and embed videos. There are also robust privacy settings. When one follows a brand, s/he will see the most recently uploaded videos on their feed which reside on the homepage,

Vimeo has three tiers of membership: Basic, Plus and PRO. Though one does not need to sign up for a membership to view Vimeo videos, non-members don’t have the ability to like, comment, or upload videos. Basic is free and allows for uploading videos and creating Channels, but with limitations. Plus costs $60/year and allows for more storage space, HD embedding, player customization, and unlimited Channel, Group and Album creation. PRO costs $200/year and “is made for creative professionals and businesses who want to showcase their work in exactly the way they want, anywhere on the Internet, and on any device.” PRO also allows for users to sell their content on Vimeo on Demand. Businesses, companies and organizations are required to buy this level of membership.

Every day 6.5 million smartphone users around the world watch online videos on their devices. So it follows that Vimeo is mobile-friendly. And, in fact, is available on almost every internet-connected device.

Brands can integrate Vimeo with their other social media channels. Vimeo videos can be embedded on to a brand’s website and/or shared on their social media accounts. Individuals can also easily share content they like on their personal social media accounts.

Sharing Vimeo on multiple platforms is very user-friendly.

Sharing Vimeo on multiple platforms is very user-friendly.

Since Vimeo does not allow for any advertisements on its videos, marketers don’t have to worry about inadvertently promoting a competitor (unlike the below Vimeo competitor).

Example of advertisements that appear at the end of a YouTube video.

Example of advertisements that appear at the end of a YouTube video.

As you may have guessed, it is difficult to showcase Vimeo without comparing it to video-hosting giant and primary competitor, YouTube (see above).  View this Prezi for a side-by-side comparison of the two and find out why a brand might choose Vimeo over YouTube.


Headquartered in New York City, Vimeo was founded in December 2004 by video enthusiasts and Connected Ventures employees Jake Lodwick and Zach Klein. According to Wikipedia, the name “Vimeo” comes from combining the words “video” and “me.” It is also an anagram of the word “movie.”

As part of its acquisition of Connect Ventures in 2006, IAC/InterActiveCorp acquired Vimeo. In 2007, Vimeo became the first video site to offer high definition quality for user generated videos. In 2008, Vimeo began offering a premium service called Vimeo Plus, which costs $60 a year and includes more storage space, HD embedding, video player customization, and other advanced features. In 2011, Vimeo began allowing commercial video content and introduced Vimeo PRO, optimized for use by businesses and creative professionals. In 2012, Vimeo introduced Tip Jar, allowing for viewers to give a small cash payment to a video they like. In 2013, Vimeo launched Vimeo on Demand, giving PRO users the option to monetize their Vimeo content via a paywall. Also in 2013, Vimeo released its first full length feature film. As the video above notes, February 16, 2015 marked Vimeo’s 10th anniversary of its first uploaded video.


Vimeo has a niche audience. The users are focused more on quality and originality when compared to other video hosting sites. Vimeo users are primarily made up of filmmakers and serious film buffs. Other Vimeo users include: filmmakers, photographers, musicians, comedians, action sports enthusiasts and artists. According to this Mashable article, filmmakers even go as far as using Vimeo to receive feedback from other Vimeo users about their latest works. In comparing Vimeo to YouTube, I think this blogger puts it best:

“YouTube is like New York. It is sensory overload, filled with advertisements and you have to filter through the junk to get to the good stuff. Your video might get lost in the scuffle of the big city or it might find itself in the bright lights of Times Square.”

Vimeo is like Portland, the smaller city with a big town feel, the streets aren’t as cluttered and it’s much easier to find what you are looking for. Your video isn’t as likely to make it to the bright lights of the big city, but you’ll reach an audience of people who appreciate the time and effort you put into making your masterpiece.”

Vimeo has 25 million members with an 80% year over year increase in global membership. Monthly, There are 170 million viewers on Vimeo worldwide, with 128 million viewers residing outside of the U.S. Vimeo videos reach over 90 million people worldwide per month. CEO Kerry Trainor recently announced that he hopes Vimeo monthly video views will reach 200 million by this summer. This is due in part to their new partnership with the crowdfunding site Indiegogo. And, Vimeo’s views aren’t the only thing growing; Vimeo’s staff more than doubled in 2014 (from 80 to 170 employees).

So, brands that should choose Vimeo as their primary video marketing platform should discern whether their target audience lie within Vimeo’s narrow viewership. For example, a company that sells video equipment would benefit greatly from having a strong presence on Vimeo, as many Vimeo users are filmmakers. Additionally, advertising/marketing agencies and independent production companies could benefit from using the platform to showcase their past work to gain new clients.


Due to the niche audience, the brands that have a presence on Vimeo are lesser known (at least to me!). Here are a few that already have an established presence on the video sharing site:

The online marketplace Etsy uses Vimeo to promote their site.

Airbnb uploads travel-related videos to promote their worldwide community of hosts and travelers.

The DC-based monthly magazine The Atlantic uses Vimeo to further spread news.

Zacuto is a large manufacturer of high-quality filmmaking camera accessories.

Digital Kitchen is a creative and digital agency who have worked with well-known companies, such as Bose, AT&T, Whole Foods Market, Estee Lauder and others. They created the opening credits for both True Blood and Dexter (two of my favorite opening credits, actually!)


With the growing popularity of online video, having a video presence on social media is a necessity for most brands. Vimeo is not the right social media platform for all brands, but for those who want to reach the audiences that Vimeo attracts, using the platform effectively is sure to pay off. Vimeo can fit into a brand’s multimedia plan by using it as an extension of their current marketing efforts. Brands can use the platform to feature new products or services, industry-related how-to videos, interview employees and customers, engage with current and potential customers, among other things.

Though I primarily use YouTube for watching video, I come across Vimeo from time to time. Now that I have researched Vimeo and have seen a few videos on the site due to this assignment, I believe I will become a frequent user.I think continuing to watch Vimeo will help to make me a more creative professional. I especially enjoyed the Vimeo Staff Picks Channel as all of those videos were beautifully created.