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4 Notes

Why YouTube’s new “search captions” feature is super useful for journalism, comms

There are already plenty of good reasons to add captions to your YouTube videos –- but now there’s another frickin’ awesome reason, thanks to a new YouTube search feature.

Yesterday, YouTube announced that you can now search captions to find videos that contain specific words and phrases.

IMO, this opens up an interesting, useful avenue for finding relevant content, but also for your videos to be discovered by people who might not otherwise find them.

Think about it: say you’re a journalist doing a story about an event that took place — maybe a speech someone gave or a protest. You want to complement your story with a video, but you didn’t have a camera with you at the event, or if was a historical event, you don’t have any file footage.

With this new search feature, not only will it be easier to find relevant videos, but you’ll be able to hone in videos (and the exact spot in those videos) containing a specific quote or line or crowd chant (as long as those videos are captioned). You couldn’t do before unless the video’s publisher had included that info in the description, title or tags.

Another example: say you’re a communications officer/PR flack (like me), and you recall one of your researchers or students once said something really cool –- but you don’t remember which video it was in, or who said it, or at what point in the video they said it.

With this new feature, you can — if you’re videos are captioned. Awesome, eh?

Here’s how to search within captions: Just add the word or phrase you’re looking for in the YouTube search field, then a comma and the letters “cc”

For example, I wanted to see if there are any videos of people quoting scientist Carl Sagan’s great line “Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known.” So I typed this:

"Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known", cc

Turns out, President Obama used that line in a speech a few years ago. And the YouTube search captions feature not only finds the video, it gives me the option to Start playing at search term (11:34), just before he says that line.

Have any of you played with this feature yet?

And what other cool ways could it be used?

11 Notes

… they’d better get it right or else garbage goes out the door.

Good point from a Nobel Prize-winning scientist on why it’s crucial that university PR folks (like me) have to provide a layer of “quality control” when we’re publicizing research findings from our institutions.

Now that’s always been important. But especially now, in an age when we’re exploiting mediums that allow us to reach general audiences without going through traditional, independent media channels, we have even more of an obligation to act journalistically. That’s why I read every study that I publicize, triple check figures, play devil’s advocate and often ask “dumb” questions.

Here’s an excerpt of the discussion on PBS’ Mediashift; or the read the full Q&A, “Nobel Prize Winner on How New Media is Democratizing Science News.”

MS: The flip side of blogs, in a way, are websites devoted to presenting original research to a general audience directly through a university’s press office. I’m thinking of sites such as, which features stories written from press releases from some 60 universities. It cuts out the journalist middleman. No new reporting is done, though a release might be rewritten to make it more engaging. Is that a good thing? Does something go missing when that journalist is cut out, or does it simply speed the release of new research?

SR: If the university’s news and publication office people are competent it could be that it works just fine. I see it all the time now that journalists don’t rewrite a thing. They’ll summarize the exact same text as the press release. It’s possible that this really is a migration of science journalism from the newspaper to university press offices. And that might be just fine, might even be better if the university has more incentive to make sure they get the science right. As a publishing scientist, that’s at least neutral, and it might even be beneficial. Of course, then the burden of quality control ends up resting in the university’s press office, and they’d better get it right or else garbage goes out the door.

Disclosure: UNC-Chapel Hill is a member of Futurity and I’m the university’s liaison with that site.

1 Notes

Workshop: Communicating with the media about your research

Want to learn the in’s and out’s of working with the media to spread the word about your research?

Then come along to this workshop tomorrow morning on the UNC-Chapel Hill campus:

Academic research makes crucial contributions to society but too often findings are kept within the research community. The goal of this seminar is to help faculty, staff, and students recognize the role that mainstream media can play in communicating this knowledge to a wider audience. Attendees also will learn tips for how to work effectively with journalists, and about resources that are available to researchers to support such efforts.

Date and time: Friday, November 18, 2011, 8:30 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.

Location: Dey Hall, Toy Lounge (map)

To register, click here [sorry, UNC faculty, students and staff only]

Co-presented by:

  • Ferrel Guillory, Professor of the Practice of Journalism, Director of Program on Public Life UNC, School of Journalism and Mass Communication
  • Suzanne Havala Hobbs, Clinical Associate Professor, Director of the Doctoral Program in Health Leadership, UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health
  • Patric Lane, Health and Science Editor, UNC News Services (i.e., me)

Hope to see some of you there.