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YouTube awards $10,000 to citizen journalist

January 12, 2009 |  2:31 pm

YouTube's Project: Report concluded last night. The site awarded a $10,000 grant to winner Arturo Perez Jr., the reporter behind "Abilities," a 5-minute documentary on Camphill California, a community for developmentally disabled residents. As the title suggests, "Abilities" is a video meditation on the abilities, rather than the disabilities, of the people who live in Camphill, and lively footage shot by the residents themselves nicely underscores that theme. 

The plan is for Perez to use the grant money to work with the Pulitzer Center -- a sponsor of the contest -- on a story "of global importance" that is under-reported in the U.S. news media.

YouTube said it received hundreds of entries for the contest, which began last September, and Perez's submission was chosen from among five finalists.

The project has not received a great deal of attention, and as a result most of the videos have fewer than 5,000 views. But whether the project is cranking out bombshells seems to matter less than that YouTube is playing its part in encouraging a new generation of video journalists. Hopefully, Project: Report gets another round this year and continues to grow and attract talent and visibility.

-- David Sarno

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