Becoming the local YouTube

There's a reason for YouTube's popularity.

Yet, it's not too far of a reach to state that the online video site would LOVE to have Petoskey News-Review's success in one crucial aspect - growth. Specifically, hours and minutes viewed for videos - be it generated from Petoskey, Gaylord, Charlevoix and all points in between - more than doubled from this past January to February at www.petoskeynews.com.

We certainly wouldn't mind YouTube's total viewership numbers, what website wouldn't?

What we enjoy, as many people in our region have, is looking at a local website to watch the mid-February flash dance mob at North Central Michigan College.

Or an area eighth-grade basketball team taking on teachers in a late February benefit game.

Perhaps watch a complete three minute video of the historic events last Friday involving the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians?

Maybe laugh aloud while viewing the Slush Cup crazies at Boyne Mountain from over the weekend?

The point is the News-Review staff is dedicated to constantly uploading photo albums and video for area events to our www.petoskeynews.com site. This occurs throughout the week, making sure not just our words are being used to describe area events.

This brings about a request: SEND US YOUR VIDEOS.

As strong as the staff has been about submitting videos or area events, it goes back to the limitation of newspaper staff that is as old as the printing press itself -- we can't be everywhere. Technology has obviously exploded, along with the significant broadband improvements across the region, over the past two or three years, making sharing photo albums and videos as easy as tapping on a phone screen and then opening an email or Facebook.

The News-Review would like to be included in that share, not merely to improve our viewing numbers but to strengthen our already strong local content.

Think about it - in print, the News-Review daily is heavy with local contributions. In sports, Steve Foley, Drew Kochanny and Kurt Grangood cover a lot but getting those calls and emails from area coaches and fans is what helps augment the sports section (well, we're in a little break between sports seasons, but you get the point).

While the News-Review tries to toe the line in covering the region without shameless promotion just to promote, we are clearly the local news source. For years, that has been what makes it into the newspaper box around the corner or your doorstep every afternoon.

More recently, we're expanding our online product.

Facebook, Twitter and Mobile? Yep. Yep. Yep.

Obviously, we're not just print anymore. We just want to add more visually and -- most importantly -- locally.

So, while sharing with friends on Facebook about a downhill skiing event or a hike on a Little Traverse Conservancy trail is growing in popularity, the News-Review would like to be included in that sharing process.

We're not YouTube, but few things are growing faster locally than us in online multimedia.

Zac Britton is the Digital Editor and admits to being addicted to online video views, whether it's a downtown Petoskey event, or - to a decreasing level - clips from "The Big Bang Theory." He appreciates if videos are sent, along with description information (names, location, summary, etc.) to his email at zbritton@petoskeynews.com. He can also be reached at (231) 439-9398 or @zacbritton_pnr on Twitter.
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