Amateur Footage: A Global Study of User-Generated Content


This research examines when, how much, and within what parameters user-generated content is used by global broadcast news organizations, both on air and online. We began the project by interviewing 10 news managers about the integration of UGC within their newsrooms, to provide a framework for our research questions. We then collected and analyzed three weeks of output on air and online from eight 24-hour news channels in order to provide us with concrete numbers about the amount, timing, labeling, and crediting of user-generated content. Both the television and online content were coded using predefined characteristics that correlated with objectives to understand when and how UGC is integrated, how it is described to the audience, and whether the uploader is acknowledged and credited. Each individual piece of UGC was analyzed for these characteristics. We presented our original quantitative data set and analysis in a standalone Part I report—but the main findings are included in this final report as well. The second phase of our research involved extended interviews with 64 news managers, editors, and journalists from 40 news organizations, located in 24 countries. These interviews allowed us to understand in greater detail the editorial parameters and the most significant challenges that broadcast newsrooms are facing with the integration of user-generated content.