3. Scoop: Google's next news investment
The Young Turks (TYT), one of the largest progressive digital publishers on YouTube, is receiving funding from Google-owned YouTube to launch an online course called TYT Academy that focuses on the creation of digital-first local news. Sources say the investment is in the mid-six figures range.
Why it matters: The investment is part of YouTube's $25 million commitment to news efforts, which is part of the $300 million Google News Initiative that was announced in 2018.
- As one of YouTube's most successful publishers with 4.6 million for its main account and millions of followers across its affiliated channels, TYT is a logical fit for this type of investment.
The new class features a two-track video series, with each containing 8 videos. Users will take short quizzes along the way, and must pass a final exam after completing each track to earn a TYT Academy certificate.
- First track: Journalism tactics and responsibilities.
- Second track: Best practices for online video production across many online platforms, not just YouTube.
For now, the course is in a trial period. TYT plans to expand the program more broadly after first testing it with 10-15 people.
- The goal of the class is to get everyday people engaged in digital media so that they can help report on their local communities.
Yes, but: While TYT takes a strong progressive position as an outlet, Steven Oh, TYT’s Chief Business Officer and the creator of TYT Academy, told Axios on a phone call that TYT is "not interested in cranking out journalists who share our political viewpoint whatsoever."
The big picture: Facebook has also invested in online news courses from publishers. In December, Axios reported that Facebook would be funding an online deepfakes course for newsrooms by Reuters.
Our thought bubble: The videos, which have already been posted online for about two months for this course, appear to be non-partisan, but it's notable that YouTube is investing in a course from TYT, which has a progressive bent.
- Facebook has said that it will include partisan publishers like Breitbart in its news tab, but says it won't necessarily pay Breitbart. The company hasn't released a list of all of the publishers who are being paid.