i files logoMost people (about a billion) will look back on 2012 and recall the colorful, wacky and pulsating phenomenon that was “Gangnam Style.” But 2012 was also declared the Year of News on YouTube

On Aug. 2, the Center for Investigative Reporting, the parent organization of The Bay Citizen, launched The I Files, the first channel for investigative journalism on YouTube. With initial contributors such as the Investigative News Network, The New York Times, Al-Jazeera, ABC and ProPublica, the channel soon gained the attention of other organizations and added Vice, ITVS, Univision, Reuters TV and more to the lineup. 

The I Files is able to harness the power of online video by uploading and aggregating the best stories from around the world. Whether the video is a revealing investigation, an intimate profile or a peek into another world, the channel strives to pull compelling journalistic content to the foreground – and in the vast and overwhelming landscape of our digital world, this is a feat and a necessary resource. 

“For years, YouTube has been the global living room – it’s becoming a global newsroom,” writes Tom Sly, director of content partnerships for news and education in a post on The O­­fficial YouTube blog.

We thought you’d like to check out YouTube’s recap of 2012, an infographic created with the help of Nieman Journalism Lab and Storyful. (See below.)

In our own effort to review the year, our I Files team has curated a playlist showcasing the best videos from its arsenal since launching: http://ow.ly/gwnrP.

The list includes CIR docs “The Hidden Costs of Hamburgers,” “The Man Who Armed the Panthers” and “Her War,” and an excerpt from POV’s “Where Soldiers Come From.”

Sam Gutelle of Tubefilter News writes, “The top 10 list also includes offerings from several top YouTube channels, speaking to The I Files’ nature as both a home for original content and an aggregator of fantastic investigative journalism. Entries from VICE, The Guardian, The New York Times, NPR, and The Pulitzer Center rounded out the top ten, with the Pulitzer documentary on child brides serving as the most viewed video on the list.”

So start off the new year by subscribing to The I Files to keep up with the biggest and most fascinating investigative video stories of 2013! 

Best of YouTube News 2012

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Julia B. Chan worked at The Center for Investigative Reporting until June, 2017. Julia B. Chan is a producer and the digital editor for Reveal's national public radio program. She’s the voice of Reveal online and manages the production and curation of digital story assets that are sent to more than 200 stations across the country. Previously, Chan helped The Center for Investigative Reporting launch YouTube’s first investigative news channel, The I Files, and led engagement strategies – online and off – for multimedia projects. She oversaw communications, worked to better connect CIR’s work with a bigger audience and developed creative content and collaborations to garner conversation and impact.

Before joining CIR, Chan worked as a Web editor and reporter at the San Francisco Examiner. She managed the newspaper’s digital strategy and orchestrated its first foray into social media and online engagement. A rare San Francisco native, she studied broadcasting at San Francisco State University, focusing on audio production and recording. Chan is based in Reveal's Emeryville, California, office.