Sony_Ericsson_K790_-_aDid you know that every minute, some 20 hours of video is uploaded to YouTube? That’s a ton of content about everything from nights out on the town, to events or even breaking news.

With that in mind, Google announced this morning the launch of YouTube Direct, a new tool that allows news organizations (but really anyone) to request the right to rebroadcast YouTube clips made by other YouTube users. It also lets the news organizations review the videos before doing so.

Here’s how it works: YouTube’s application programming interface (API) allows news organizations to essentially import the entire YouTube editing platform into their own websites. For example, a video a neighbor shot of a house fire could be uploaded to a local channel and leveraged as part of a news broadcast later that night.

There are several news organizations already using the new tool, including ABC News, the Huffington Post, NPR and the San Francisco Chronicle. In my neck of the woods, local TV affiliate WHDH-TV/WLVI-TV is using YouTube Direct as well.

With the advent of citizen journalism and the viral nature of video, this new tool could prove to be a useful resource for news organizations to aggregate and divulge content. However, with any user generated content, it must be closely watched, researched and proven worthy. I’d hate to see a news organization get burned by their viewers for using misleading content – which is easy to find on YouTube.

If your developers are itching to get started, just have them visit the YouTube Direct project page. Click here: http://code.google.com/apis/youtube/ytdirect.html