LA Times Turns To YouTube For Help

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Includes: GOOG, TRBCQ
by: Frank Barnako

The Los Angeles Times (TRB) has begun to post its web site's "Vehicular Video" columns on YouTube (NASDAQ:GOOG).

During the past week, Dan Neil's "Rumble Seat" videos on new models from Jaguar, Shelby, Acura and Tesla have been uploaded. The YouTube clip is the same file that is available on the newspaper's Web site. (Except I couldn't get the Times' file to play. YouTube's did fine.)

In a memo to the paper’s staff, Russ Stanton, the Innovations Editor said posting videos on YouTube is "an effort to steer eyeballs toward latimes.com."

If somebody sees an episode on the video site, he may be curious enough to ferret out Dan Neil’s columns on the print site. The pieces close with, "For the LA Times and latimes.com, I'm Dan Neil."

Using YouTube is an interesting step, but the folks uploading the files have got to get more creative with their keywords to help people find the videos. Searches for "new car" and "car review" turned up no LA Times pieces on the first page pf hits. The Times might also think about creating a channel on YouTube as CBS and NBC have done. In video centric-LA it makes a lot of sense to use YouTube for promotion and you'd be surprised if other print and broadcast media, doing video for the Web, don't start taking advantage of all that free distribution, too.

Using YouTube to promote the paper is one of a number of steps the Los Angeles newspaper took this week to boost its Internet presence. Next week, a series of meetings called "Internet 101" will find reporters and editors being told the basics of latimes.com, "what generates the most traffic and the least, what the site can and can't do and where it is headed," according to a memo passed along by LAObserved.com. Other sessions will show editors how to post stories, do Web page layout, and to manipulate graphics.

The LA Times has also decided to analyze its two-dozen or so blogs to see which work and which don't. In the meantime, no new ones will be started.

Disclaimer: I own shares of Google.