The Associated Press created their own YouTube channel last week and promptly uploaded more than 550,000 videos from their archives dating back to 1895. If I were in high school, I’d say my history presentations just got a bit more interesting.
I know how impactful video can be from working in public relations for more than 10 years. We can talk about a subject all day but when someone shows a video everyone shuts up. Even when there’s no sound! The Washington Post worked with the AP’s archivist to select a few “must-see” videos. I looked through the list and to be honest, they’re a bit depressing. They are definitely historical, but after scrolling through World War I, the Stock Market crash, the Lindbergh baby kidnapping, the Hindenburg disaster, the bombing of Pearl Harbor and a few more bombings, I was pretty happy to see the video when Nelson Mandela was first released after 27 years in prison.
Half a million videos is truly overwhelming. Fortunately, AP put together several playlists to narrow down what you are looking for. There’s playlists for Fashion & Beauty; Crime; Iconic Moments in History; Science, Nature & Technology, Editor’s Pick and several more.
This is so amazing to me because these used to be locked up somewhere in a museum and now they’ve been digitized for anyone to embed and share for use online, in broadcasts, presentations – you name it!
The media is fascinating to me. I love watching how the media covers an issue and how the public reacts to it. I especially think it’s interesting how that “conversation” between the media and the public has evolved over the years. Think of being a journalist when Abraham Lincoln was running for office. You’d probably hear him speak, write up your story (with a pencil), hand it over to your editor to be printed and moved on to whatever the next story was. Maybe you’d get a letter (in the mail!) about what you wrote or maybe someone on the street would comment on it. But that’s it! Today, journalists are constantly communicating! They have their traditional formats whether it’s TV, print or radio which run news programs 24/7 rather than once a day, but they are also expected to be Tweeting news as it happens, interacting with the public on Facebook, in blogs and through comment sections and now they can be broadcasting live at any moment through apps like Periscope and Meerkat.
I know I’ve digressed, but this is why having this footage available is so amazing. Anyone can use it! A journalist can pop it into a segment, a 10th-grader can use it a PowerPoint presentation, someone with no kids could sit and watch whatever they felt like. Ok, that last one is true regardless of the new channel, but you get the point.
If you have a minute, check it out. If you have a teenager, pass it on. Hopefully this information will be used positively and will be another resource we can use for education.