Monday, June 30, 2008

You Choose '08: Monday Hotlist

McCain releases a new ad, the Red State Update guys discuss the recent Obama-Clinton alliance, and a mother responds to Move.Org. Just some of the highlights from this week's Monday Hotlist.

Seal (JohnMcCaindotcom)

Red State Update: Hillary Loves Obama (travisandjonathan)

Ania Egland responds to ad attacking Sen. McCain (smile4ania)

The McCain Residences: A Google Earth Tour (jedreport)

The Onion: Pretend You Give A Shit About The Election (TheOnion)

Friday, June 27, 2008

Obama Takes Page From McCain Playbook

Barack Obama’s YouTube channel just posted a video today featuring campaign manager David Plouffe discussing their team's campaign strategy for the general election. Aided with PowerPoint slides and a handful of statistics, Plouffe gives a brief summary of where the campaign stands, the challenges ahead, and what supporters can do to help.

The video comes a few weeks after John McCain’s campaign manager Rick Davis released a video (see below) outlining their team’s general election strategy. And indeed, the two videos share many similarities. Both aim to give voters an in-depth, by-the-numbers look at each candidate’s strategy for success; both delve into topics such as voter demographics, party enthusiasm, battleground states, and the importance of fundraising; and both encourage voters not only to support their campaigns from afar, but to get involved.

Of course, one can’t help but notice that whereas the Obama video goes back-and-forth between PowerPoint slides and Plouffe talking directly to the camera, the McCain video is made up exclusively of graphs and statistics—nowhere in the video do we see Davis’ face. (And clocking in at over 14 minutes, the McCain video is twice as long.)

Posting your campaign strategy to YouTube... we really do live in more transparent times.

CitizenTube Friday Five

Cowboys, family values, the cost of war, and James Bond. Here’s this week’s Friday Five.

Dr. No (johnmccaindotcom)

Anti-Obama ad inspired by the famous James Bond film.

Tony Perkins Asks Barack Obama: When Does Life Begin? (FRCAction)

FRCAction President and noted conservative Tony Perkins asks Barack Obama: When Does Life Begin?

Costs Of War (CostsofWar)

Short video outlining the cost of the Iraq War in a single minute.

Lieberman Must Go! (bravenewfilms)

Video urging Senate Democrats to strip Joe Lieberman of his leadership role in Congress.

Big John (TexansForJohnCornyn)

Campaign ad/music video from Texas senator John Cornyn.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

A Political Conversation, YouTube-Style

Hundreds, if not thousands, of political conversations are taking place on YouTube everyday, whether in the form of comments or video replies. Today we wanted to spotlight one of them: a passionate video exchange between YouTube users PoliticalOverload and Witzkeyman.

Here’s the background: After Obama announced his decision to decline public financing for his campaign, PoliticalOverload uploaded a video expressing his deep disappointment, and even his uncertainty as to whether he would continue to support Obama. Witzkeyman responded, criticizing PoliticalOverload for joining the anti-Obama bandwagon and holding Obama to too high a standard. What then followed, over the course of two subsequent videos, was a thoughtful debate over the question of practicality versus principle. Is it better to choose the lesser of two evils—or not to choose at all?

The Young Turk’s Cenk Uygur: The CitizenTube Interview

Smart, irreverent, and often hilarious, The Young Turks is one of the most popular political channels on YouTube. Hosted by Cenk Uygur, the Young Turks is a daily radio/Internet show covering politics, news, and current events. Whether the topic is John McCain, Nancy Pelosi, or Soulja Boy, Uygur and his crew rarely fail to provoke and entertain.

Uygur recently took the time to sit down and answer some questions for Citizentube. He shares with us how the Young Turks came into being, what questions he would ask the presidential candidates, and his favorite YouTube videos (besides his own).

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Nader and the 7 Things You Can’t Say

In a provocative tribute to the late George Carlin, Ralph Nader just released a video on his YouTube channel entitled “7 Things You Can't Say in '08: In Memory of George Carlin.” A reference to the comedy act that made Carlin famous (and notorious), the video enumerates what Nader considers to be the political taboos of this year’s presidential election.

No doubt Carlin would be flattered.

"I Approve This Message" - Unscripting the Political Process on YouTube:

Citizen journalist collective, the UpTake, launched a new project on Monday called "I Approve This Message," in partnership with The UnConvention, an organization that aims to offer an alternative perspective on politics.

The "I Approve This Message" campaign encourages citizens to create short videos with their own political messages -- for the candidates, for their delegates, for their party. The goal of the project is to empower everyday people by providing a "fun way for citizens to get involved in the dialogue." These video responses will be highlighted on both The UpTake and The Unconvention's YouTube channels, The UnConvention website, and a selection will be screened in person at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis.

Check out the project's launch video here:

....and the UpTake's initial round of submissions, in which users were invited to share a personal message with the RNC:

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Learning from YouTube Masters...

I just finished spending the last two days at the Personal Democracy Forum's annual conference in New York, "Rebooting the System." In addition to learning from technocrats and politicos buzzing with great ideas and insights, I had the opportunity to moderate a panel entitled, "Mastering the World of Online Video." It featured three YouTube greats - Robert Greenwald of bravenewfilms, Josh Marshall of TPMtv, and Matthew Sheffield of NewsBusted. Each had some great thoughts to relay on how to succeed in the world of online video.

Just for some reference, here is the incline that anyone faces when they decide to start uploading video to YouTube:

  • Hundreds of millions of videos are viewed on YouTube every day
  • Hundreds of thousands of new videos are uploaded to YouTube every day
  • In just one minute, 10 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube
How do you succeed and get your videos to rise to the top of that chaotic stream of content?

Here are some of the ideas that Robert, Josh, and Matthew had:

Be timely. Create content that is relevant to the news cycle. So much traffic is driven by search on YouTube - people search for what is relevant that day. Josh uploads at least a video a day to his channel (and will soon upload more...) and Matthew's Newsbusted comes out with a new episode every three days or so.

Understand the ecosystem. Robert went to great lengths to describe how Brave New Films utilizes both the blogosphere and the mainstream media, and capitalizes on their need for new content to feed their broadcasts. In fact, he premiered a great video at our panel about how Brave New Films conceives of and promotes a piece of video content from start to finish:

Build networks. Email lists matter - Matthew said Newsbusted was a success from the beginning because their massive email distribution network was a great pipeline to distribute their links.

Say something original. Both Josh and Robert stressed this - online video is a great place to say something that isn't being said somewhere else.

The "Rocketboom" strategy. Matthew touched on this... and though he took some flack for it from the audience, it seems to bear true: it does not hurt to have an attractive female starring in your videos.

Listen to feedback. Your community on YouTube can give you great advice on how to tweak your content - keep an eye on those comments and video responses. Matthew said Newsbusted made some tweaks to the show after viewers made recommendations on what they liked and didn't.

Experiment. All three said this was key... Josh in particular has experimented with a wide variety of video styles... you might not know what will work until you try, and YouTube is a medium of abundance, not scarcity. Use that to your advantage.

Many more insights, but these were the highlights...

McCain Slams Obama on Campaign Financing Decision

John McCain just released a pointed video on his YouTube channel responding to Obama’s recent announcement that he’ll be declining public financing for his general election campaign. Using footage of Obama from speeches and interviews - including his well-known, Deval Patrick-inspired remark, “Don’t tell me words don’t matter” - the video condemns the Illinois Senator for going back on earlier promises to run a publicly financed campaign.

The video marks the first negative ad from the McCain camp since Obama became the Democratic Party’s presumptive presidential nominee earlier this month. If anyone needed reminding that the general election campaign is in full swing, this is as good an indication as any.

Newest Political Ad from Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe on YouTube

Zimbabwean politics have been in extreme turmoil since March, when Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwe's undisputed leader for nearly twenty years, garnered less votes in the national presidential election than opposition party leader Morgan Tsvangirai. Mugabe refused to concede the presidency, and violence broke out across the country as his loyalists targeted members of Tsvangiari's party, the Movement for Democratic Change, in an effort to maintain power.

Both parties agreed to a run-off election this Friday June 27, but Tsvangirai unexpectedly withdrew last week, in what some believe was a plea for international assistance and a move to protect his supporters who continue to be the victims of brutal violence and intimidation.

Les Observateurs, a citizen-media news service edited by journalists at France 24, posted Mugabe's latest television advertisement on their YouTube channel. Mugabe's commercial flashes images of President Bush, former and current British Prime Ministers Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, and then a picture of Tsvangirai accompanied by the text: "Is this the president you want?" By all accounts, the chances that a fair election would have occurred on Friday had the MDC not pulled out were close to zero -- it was clear that Mugabe had no plans to heed the true outcome of a democratic process.

Find out more about the Movement for Democratic Change and the Zimbabwe Elections by checking out the MDC leader Arthur Mutambara's YouTube Channel.

This anonymous user in Zimbabwe, TEACHICKEN, has created a few videos explaining the situation from his perspective -- which is worth watching.

Kucinich's "Impeach Bush" Petition Hits YouTube

Months after ending his bid for the White House, Congressman Dennis Kucinich is back in the political (and YouTube) spotlight. Kucinich just released the video below asking Americans to sign his petition calling for President Bush’s impeachment.

Kucinich is one of the few elected officials who have actively called for impeachment proceedings against the president, in contrast to most senate and congressional leaders, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who despite their criticism of the Bush administration have maintained that impeachment is off the table

Whether Kucinich’s petition will lead to impeachment proceedings remains doubtful, especially in an election season and the last year of Bush’s term. But if there’s one thing we’ve come to learn about Kucinich, he doesn’t mind bucking the odds.

Monday, June 23, 2008

You Choose '08: Monday Hotlist

What do campaign finance, Newt Gingrich, and action figures have in common? They all make an appearance in this week's Monday Hotlist.

1,000,000 Americans Join 'Drill Here, Drill Now' Movement (AmericanSolutions) Response to Obama's Fundraising Video (twentythreesix)

The Glass House of McCain [trailer] (jedreport)

Barack Obama Declines Public Financing (PoliticalOverload)

STUPID MEDIA (britethorn)

Friday, June 20, 2008

Thinking big? Check out BigThink

Recently we got the chance to sit down with Victoria Brown, who founded - a site whose goal is to move the public dialogue beyond "talking heads and talking points," and give it back to people. Their YouTube channel is a great collection of interviews with experts on a variety of topics, and their website allows anyone to submit and rank big ideas.

Here's our interview with Victoria:

CitizenTube Friday Five

The AP goes after bloggers, TPM Media pays tribute to Tim Russert, and footage of Obama Girl’s predecessor resurfaces. Here’s this week’s Friday Five.

Original Obama Girl: Reagan Girl (Iamzumwalt)

Once upon a time in the '80s, there was a girl who had a crush on Regan.

TPMtv: Tim Russert, 1950-2008 (Veracifier)

TPM Media’s mash-up tribute to the late Tim Russert.

He Said It First - Censored Version (Election08)

Comedy sketch based on an alleged incident involving John McCain.

Harvard's Advice to Bloggers on AP Copyright Fiasco (digitaljournal)

A look at the ensuing battle between the Associated Press and news bloggers.

Tour Iowa City flooding (DMRegister)

A moving virtual tour of the devastating flooding in Iowa City, Iowa.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

McCain Cribs Exclusive: We like to roll in style

Whoever said John McCain wasn't in touch with young folks clearly hasn't seen the latest video from his campaign, "McCain Cribs Exclusive: The Straight-Talk Express." A play off of the wildly popular television show MTV Cribs, which offers guided journeys through the sprawling mansions of the rich and famous, this video tour of McCain's campaign bus gives voters a behind-the-scenes look at the Senator's pimped-out ride. Davis White, McCain's Director of Advance, explains the bus's role in the campaign, while pointing out the vehicle's flyest amenities -- including the 36" inch flat screen TV and 22" inch rims.

It's clear that Justin Germany, the McCain team's video guru, did his research when putting this one together. From the bass-heavy hip-hop beats used in the intro title sequence to the camera angles and video editing techniques, the "McCain Cribs Exclusive" has the same look-and-feel of the real MTV cribs episodes that feature the bed and baths of stars like 50 cent and Snoop Dogg.

"When we roll into town," White explains in the video, "we like to roll in style."

Obama announces public financing opt-out on YouTube

Senator Obama hopped on to YouTube this morning to announce that he'll be forgoing public funding for the general election. By opting out of the $84 million that the pubic financing system would allot his campaign, Team Obama is relying on their extensive grassroots online fundraising efforts - which have pulled in donations from 1.5 million Americans - to fuel their efforts. "I wanted all of you, the people who've built this movement from the bottom up, to hear it first," Obama said to voters on YouTube this morning.

Obama's announcement is both historic and controversial - no other candidate has declined public funding since the current system was created in 1976 in the wake of the Watergate scandal. His campaign's argument is that the current system is broken - by allowing 527 money into the system, millions of dollars of unregulated funds influence the campaign, they claim. In his video, Obama points out that by relying on private funding from supporters, he's running a campaign "truly funded by the American people." According to the campaign, 90% of their donations have been from voters giving $100 or less.

Some of that money was raised on YouTube - the Obama campaign has activated the Google Checkout "Contribute" button that we make available to all federal campaign channels and watch pages.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008 uses YouTube to drive funding for ad is calling their new political ad, 'Not Alex', "the most effective ad we've ever put together." It features a young mother and her son and is aimed at Senator McCain's Iraq policy. And not only was the production of the spot paid for by money donated by Move On's membership... they're now putting the ad on YouTube to help raise money to get it on the airwaves.

Linking out from their YouTube video, Move On is driving traffic to their website where supporters can watch the video and donate money to get it on the air. This is a great way to use YouTube both to communicate a message (the video has 150K views already after only 1 day) but to also drive supporters towards an action. The other effect is of course to get earned media attention on the ad - if Move On plays their cards right they'll get great media mentions on the ad as well. All part of leveraging the 21st century media ecosystem to get your message out on a variety of platforms.

Here's the video:

Monday, June 16, 2008

Obama, McCain Retool Internet Strategy

The Obama and McCain campaigns have recently retooled their Internet strategy, gearing up for a general election where much of the battle will be fought online.

Obama has been plagued with rumors and accusations throughout this election season. Which is why his campaign just launched "Fight the Smears," a site dedicated entirely to combating misinformation about him circulating over the Internet. Its aim is to squeeze the oxygen out of any smear before it takes on a life of its own, whether on sites like YouTube, political blogs or in the mainstream media.

Meanwhile, Team McCain has updated its campaign site, adding several slick features including a blog and a multimedia section that features many of McCain’s YouTube videos. Often criticized for not being as Internet savvy as Team Obama, McCain’s people are quickly adjusting their online efforts. Last week they even released a strategy video from campaign manager Rick Davis—a clear indication that they’re not ceding any ground when it comes to using the Internet during this closely watched election.

You Choose ’08: The Monday Hotlist

John McCain remembers Tim Russert, Tom Delay and Christopher Hitchens weigh in on Obama, and VideoJug presents a brief history of the Fist Bump. Here’s this week’s Monday Hotlist.

Remembering Tim Russert (1950-2008)(johnmccaindotcom)

Citizentube Interview: Christopher Hitchens of Vanity Fair (citizentube)

Obama's Fist Bump: America's Handshake (VideoJug)

Bush-McCain Challenge (PPVotes)

President Obama a boost for GOP (noquarterusa)

Saturday, June 14, 2008

The 21st century campaign - experts sound off

On Wednesday, Google and YouTube hosted an event with the National Journal at the Google Washington, D.C. office called, "The 21st Century Campaign." The event brought together journalists, campaigners managers, bloggers, commentators, and pop culture pros to talk about the role of technology in the 2008 election thus far.

There were 3 panels. The first one focused on the role of the media in covering the 21st century campaign. Moderated by Judy Woodruff, the panel featured Mark Halperin of's The Page, Katherine Ham of the DC Examiner, James Kotecki of's Kotecki TV, Kevin Madden, a Republican Strategist, and Phil Singer of the Hillary Clinton Campaign.

The second panel brought together - for the first time since the primary season ended - the Internet campaign directors of several presidential campaigns. Moderated by the National Journal's Ron Brownstein, the panel examined how each of these campaign directors is using the Internet to fundraise, organize, and communicate with the electorate. It featured
Joe Rospars of the Obama Campaign, Peter Daou of the Hillary Clinton Campaign, Mindy Finn of the Mitt Romney Campaign, and Mark SoHoo of the McCain Campaign.

The final panel took a more lighthearted lens to the 21st century campaign: the role of pop culture in influencing and covering this election. Moderated by Tammy Haddad, the panel featured
Baratunde Thurston of The Onion, Ben Relles of Obama Girl, Author/Commentator Christopher Hitchens, and Liz Winstead, the creator of The Daily Show.

We also had the chance to interview several of these panelists for Citizentube - check out the playlist below.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Tim Russert: Remembering a Legend

The world of political journalism, indeed the nation, is reeling from the unexpected death of Tim Russert, NBC News Washington Bureau Chief and host of "Meet the Press". Russert died today of a heart attack at the age of 58. Washington Post's Chris Cillizza, who appeared on MTP several times, recently posted this video reflecting on the passing of this legend in journalism.

CitizenTube's Friday Five

John Cusack goes after McCain, Ron Paul goes after Obama...and the McCain Girls are back. Everyone's fair game in this week's Friday Five.

John Cusack Gives the Bush-McCain Challenge (karinmoveon)

MoveOn.Org ad featuring actor John Cusack. McCainiac (twentythreesix)

Latest music video from the McCain Girls.


Spoof about a McCain supporter with anger management issues.

What Bill O'Reilly doesn't want you to see (videofreepress)

A follow-up story to the video featuring a Fox News producer and Bill Moyers.

Ron Paul's Message to OBAMA! (RonPaulvsObama)

Ron Paul challenges Barack Obama's message of change.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Viral Video of the Week: "I'm Voting Republican"

SyntheticHuman just released this video entitled “I’m Voting Republican,” a satirical look at the reasons Republicans give for voting for their party. It’s not exactly the most balanced representation of the GOP’s constituency, but it’s quickly becoming the viral political video of the week.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Foreign Assistance for the 21st Century

The Center for Global Development, a think tank in Washington, recently launched a video petition on their YouTube channel, calling for significant changes to U.S. foreign assistance policy—which hasn’t been updated in 47 years. And as the video makes clears, the challenges of 1961 are by no means the challenges of 2008.

By leveraging the power of YouTube and concerned citizens, the CGD hopes to urge the next president to revise our current policy so that it squarely meets the demands of the 21st Century.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Hillary’s Final Video?

In what could be her last YouTube video of the election season, Hillary Clinton thanks her supporters.

Suffering For Democratic Change

Hank and John Green, known by thousands from their popular YouTube channel TheVlogBrothers, are now entering the world of political fundraising. The two just launched a new YouTube channel, ObamasIdiots, aimed at raising money not only for the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, but for Democratic candidates across the country.

Sounds straightforward, right? But here’s the twist: the brothers are willing to subject themselves to various forms of punishment and humiliation in exchange for donations--and will post these punishments on YouTube.

Hank Green spoke with CitizenTube about the reasons behind their methods (and madness). “In general, I think we're asked to sacrifice far too little to be a member of the greatest country on Earth. I think people are willing to go through discomfort for the sake of their country, but our leaders are not willing to ask us to make the kind of sacrifices that would make our country stronger. So, in our little way, we're going to endure pain, discomfort and embarrassment in order to help foster positive changes in the United States.”

AgentChange, Reporting For Duty

Hey YouTube!

I'm Ramya and I'm the new Nonprofits & Activism Manager here at YouTube. I'm thrilled to be here, highlighting the best uses of YouTube to create meaningful social change and helping you leverage the power of YouTube for good.

Last September, we launched the YouTube Nonprofit Program with the help of 13 nonprofit partner organizations. Today, thousands of nonprofits have joined the program and are using YouTube to raise awareness about important issues, fundraise for their causes, and engage with their supporters. But there are lots of nonprofits out there who still haven't ridden the YouTube wave. Take it from a former nonprofiteer--it's totally worth it. If you're a U.S.-based 501c(3) organization, you can sign up now for a designated "Nonprofit" channel, which comes with a slew of awesome perks like increased branding and video uploading capacity, the chance to be featured in one of the "promoted videos" areas on YouTube, and the option to embed a Google Checkout gadget on your channel to drive fundraising.

Also, I want to give a shout out to all of my activists out there who aren't affiliated with a particular organization. Whether you're a filmmaker trying to expose new AIDS prevention techniques, a student organizer working to make your campus greener, or a citizen who just wants to make the world a better place, we want to help you share your ideas and experiences through YouTube. Just a few months ago, YouTube debuted the Nonprofits & Activism video page, a place where your content can bubble to the top and get seen by YouTube's global audience. Our goal is to build a vibrant community that draws attention to the world's most pressing issues.

I'll be checking in with the YouTube community on my channel, And I'd love to hear your feedback and ideas about nonprofits and activism on YouTube - email me at any time at Also, if you see brilliant uses of YouTube popping up on the Nonprofits & Activism page, please let me know!

Ramya R.
YouTube Nonprofits & Activism

Monday, June 9, 2008

Questions for next president focus on leadership

A few weeks ago I participated in a panel discussion at Harvard's Center for Public Leadership that focused on coming up with a list of questions that we'd like to ask the next president if we had the chance to put them through a job interview. The questions were to be focused on leadership - not policy - and the goal was to ascertain just how the 'applicant' would lead the U.S. government through the large, complex challenges we'll face over the next decade.

It was a challenge to come up with the types of questions that would get to the heart of how a candidate would lead - and it caused the group to consider just what leadership is. Many people resonated with the definition of leadership that scholar Ronald Heifetz has pioneered - that leadership is an act and not a role, and that act of leadership is helping a group of people discover and confront the challenges they face - and do the work together of solving the problem.

Taking the academic exercise to the web, the CPL uploaded the following summary video from the panel - it will be interesting to see what questions the YouTube community comes up with...

Moyers Takes on Fox News Producer

This weekend at the National Conference for Media Reform, Porter Barry, a producer for Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor, tracked down veteran TV journalist Bill Moyers. Luckily, citizen journalists from The UpTake were near at hand and managed to capture their riveting exchange.

You Choose ’08: Monday Round-Up

Clinton makes her exit, a professor reflects on Obama's nomination, and the GOP ramps up the pressure on Senate candidate Al Franken. Here’s this week’s Monday Round-Up.

Hillary Speaks in Washington, DC June 7 (hillaryclintondotcom)

John Hope Franklin on Obama Nomination (DukeUniversityNews)

One Shining Moment: The Democratic Primary Race (TheYoungTurks)

The "E" Word (thehotfile)

Al Franken's Implode-O-Rama (TheNRSC)

Slicing and dicing your YouTube Demographic

For years, politicians have relied on small focus groups to test new messages, measure public opinion, and squeeze as much actionable information as possible out of a dozen or so pre-screened subjects. But as with everything else in the age of Internet politics, YouTube is providing political campaigns with new ways to evaluate information and formulate campaign strategy. Our new analytics tool, YouTube Insight, allows any video uploader to view detailed statistics about the videos that they upload to the site, including aggregated information about the age, sex, and geographical location of their viewership over time. You can also see how people found your video -- whether by searching on YouTube or Google, browsing related videos, or visiting blogs and other websites.

For campaigns with "Politician" channels on the site, this means improving their ability to understand -- and engage with -- the millions of voters that make YouTube the world's largest focus group.

For example, Steve Novick, who the New York Times declared the first major YouTube candidate, narrowly lost the Democratic Senate nomination in Oregon. While the campaign knew their success on YouTube was substantial, the site itself still seemed like a black box. A Novick strategist told the New York Times, "We don't know how many people who saw the ads were Oregon voters, as opposed to people in Norway."

Here's what the Novick campaign could have learned using Insight:
  • The most views in the United States did, in fact, come from Oregon. (The most views in Scandinavia came from Sweden, not Norway.) Novick also had a strong following in California.
  • His viewers skewed older and the vast majority were men (84%). Over 30% of his viewers were in the age range of 45-55.
  • Throughout the entire campaign, was the main source of traffic for his videos. However, in the week prior to the May 20 Oregon primary, the political blog TPM Election Central was responsible for over one-third of all views coming from external websites. Novick's own website was a distant second.
There are many ways both national and local candidates can use this information on and off of YouTube. Is an ad about Iraq more popular in Virginia or Colorado? Do videos about health care skew old or young? Does an ad targeted on television to New Mexico get most of its views online from the same state? Are there national pockets of support from which a local candidate might fundraise?

With five months until November, look for more and more politicians using Insight to determine how effective their content is for which demographics. Online video is a new tool in 21st century political campaigning and this kind of data is invaluable to understanding how to use it.

- Posted by Aaron Zamost, YouTube

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Interview with Robert Greenwald

Brave New Films is one of the most prolific and provocative political video outfits on YouTube. Already well-known for feature documentaries such as Iraq for Sale and Outfoxed, BNF has devoted considerable energy in producing short videos for the Internet. And several of their videos, like this John McCain mash-up, have become viral sensations, scoring hits well into the millions. BNF founder Robert Greenwald recently took the time to answer some questions for us, sharing his insights on the challenges of making political videos in the YouTube age, his tips for fledgling political filmmakers, and his goals for the future.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

McCain strategy briefing uploaded to YouTube

The McCain campaign just uploaded their campaign strategy briefing to their YouTube channel - it's a fascinating look at how the campaign views the electorate and Senator McCain's road to victory.

Narrated by campaign manager Rick Davis (is he now an official YouTube star, after this video and his RNCC call-out video?), the piece breaks down the polls and says that despite an overwhelming negative Republican brand image today, McCain's ability to win Independent voters gives his candidacy a big boost. Davis calls McCain "one of the most resilient candidates in modern history", and says that of the 24 "swing states", he believes that McCain has a strong shot in CA, AZ, NV, NM, WI, MI, CT, NH, OH, PN.

Part of the analysis looks at the Democratic Clinton supporters that the McCain camp thinks they can steal from Obama. And it outlines the de-centralized regional campaign structure that the McCain camp has been putting together since March. Overall, the summary makes it clear that this is not the same campaign that George Bush ran in 2004, and McCain is not your typical Republican candidate.

Would be great to see a briefing from David Plouffe or David Axelrod over in the Obama camp... no doubt they are drawing up a very different map than this one.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Hear Ye, Hear Ye: Calling all Reporters

The new media revolution has been changing the media landscape for several years now, and we've had a front row seat to the action here at YouTube. People around the world have been using YouTube to report on the events and issues affecting their lives, shedding light on stories that might otherwise not be told and offering new perspectives on events covered by the traditional media. Today, to highlight these journalists on YouTube, we're announcing the launch of the Reporter channel type.

Reporter channels are just like other YouTube channel types –- such as Comedian, Guru and Musician -- but are specifically intended for citizens and professionals dedicated to informing others about the news and events in their local communities and around the world. This includes but is not limited to:
This includes but is not limited to:

If any of this sounds like you, simply go to the Channel Info page within My Account, click "Change channel type" and select "Reporter" from the pull-down menu. Soon, we'll start surfacing Reporter channels on their very own browse page under the Channels tab, so it will be much easier to find news content on YouTube.

We look forward to welcoming a new fleet of Reporters to the site, and don't forget to keep us posted on your best news content by emailing


Olivia M.
YouTube News & Politics

CitizenTube’s Friday Five

Obama makes history as the primaries end and the general election begins. Here’s this week’s Friday Five.

Barack Obama in St. Paul, MN (BarackObamaDotCom)

Obama’s speech on the night he becomes the Democratic Party’s presumptive presidential nominee.

Dear MR. President - Obama & McCain Must ReThink IT (AddiCassiFund)

A message to Obama and McCain from a mother with two young children suffering from Alzheimer’s.

Younger Than McCain - The Song! (youngerthanmcCain)

Music video making fun of John McCain’s…take a guess.

Diddy Talks about Obama (badboyrecords)

Hip-hop mogul talks about the historic impact of Obama becoming the presumptive Democratic Nominee.

Democrats vs. Obama (rnc)

New ad against Obama from the Republican National Committee.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Kids Talk Politics

Move over Sixty Minutes, there’s a new kid on the block—literally. Kids Talk Politics is a new series on YouTube that features real kids, as opposed to child actors, who share their thoughts and opinions about the political issues of the day. From Hurricane Katrina to the American flag, from handling the Iraq War to Obama’s bowling prowess (or lack thereof)…no matter the topic, these kids have something to say. KTP’s most recent video (see below) spotlights Amy, a young girl who happily reads a letter she just received from President George W. Bush.

Some might argue whether it’s appropriate to solicit political opinions from those who may be too young to understand these issues, much less vote. But Ken Sheetz, one of the founders of KTP, told CitizenTube that their primary mission is to give kids a voice in their future. “This election is the most exciting of our lives and we are thrilled to be a part of the landscape giving people a fresh point of view…[And] let's face it: after 18 months of primaries, we need some fresh faces and perspectives besides the pundits.”

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Rappin' for McCain

The McCain campaign begins to reap the, um, rewards of voter-generated content...

Interview with Washington Post's Chris Cillizza

CitizenTube had the opportunity to interview Chris Cillizza, author of the widely-read political blog "The Fix," on Last month, Chris decided to bring "The Fix" to YouTube and set up his very own channel. In his twice-weekly video installments of "FixCam," Chris helps to make rhyme and reason of our country's often convoluted political landscape...and he does it in roughly 3 minute installments. We're big Fix fans and were thus thrilled when Chris agreed to a CitizenTube interview.

Without further ado:

1) It seems like writing your blog, The Fix, on keeps you pretty busy -- especially during an election cycle like this one. Why did you decide to start FixCamming, too?

My goal with The Fix was always to take advantages of what a web medium affords a journalist. That means making the blog as three dimension as possible through links and embedded video. As I started to do more and more video in the blog, I started to think more seriously about doing some video of my own. I've always been sort of a ham (ask my wife) and the idea of using a visual vehicle to provide analysis and context about the political goings-on appealed to me. (It also allowed me to dress up in various costumes.)

2) How do you think online video has affected politics? Has it made campaigns more transparent or more of a circus?

I think the You Tube-ization of campaign politics has both good and bad to it -- like almost any other major innovation in the way in which people consume news. First, the positive: It's allowed anyone who can operate a handheld camera. That means a whole cadre of eyes and ears keeping an eye on politicians -- an increased level of vigilance that can only help the process in the long term. The downside: with everyone taping everything, politicians are constantly on guard -- trying to avoid a "YouTube" moment. That means less candor generally and less of a chance for a reporter to really get to know what a politician is thinking at any given moment.

3) What's the most effective political video you've ever seen?

Oooh, good question. There's a bunch I have really liked and even more I found effective. In no particular order: "Vote Different", John McCain singing "Bomb Iran", the Mike Gravel "Rock" video, Mitt Romney gets into it with a waitress (filmed by the Post's own Mike Shear, author of The Trail), and how could any list be complete without Obama Girl's "I got a crush on Obama".

4) What's the most significant thing about this presidential election that makes it different from ones past?

The pace. Even four years ago there wasn't the instantaneous coverage that ANY news event -- no matter how small -- causes these days. Case in point: I covered the Democratic National Committee's Rules and Bylaws Committee meeting last weekend (heck of a way to spend a Saturday). We decided that given the level of interest in the meeting -- it was designed to finally solve the problem of what to do with the sanctioned Florida and Michigan delegates -- I would live blog the event. I wound up writing more than ten total posts (and gosh knows how many words) during the day and was one of hundreds and hundreds of people blogging about the events in real time. And this was for a meeting of an OBSCURE group of party insiders! Keeping up with the pace is impossible for one person, a lesson I have learned over the two plus years I have been writing The Fix. What you do is find your own rhythm -- faster than some, slower than others -- and try to stick to it.

5) How do you envision the future of political journalism on the web in 5 years? 20 years?

I wish I knew the answer to this question. I don't. My guess is that the definition of the word "journalist" will continue to expand into blogs, video, and other mediums. People are consuming their news in new and different ways and, as an industry, we are trying to figure out how to handle that. The thing that gives me hope is that a blog like The Fix, which is focused exclusively on campaign politics, can succeed. I think its success is a sign that people still want the latest and greatest in the world of politics and even want someone to guide them through the maze that is modern political campaigns. That seems to me a good sign for our industry. Is the delivery vehicle by which people get their news changing? Yes. But is there still a desire for that news? Undoubtedly.

6) What do you think are the responsibilities of a mainstream reporter in the YouTube age?

The responsibilities of a reporter don't change no matter what age we are in. The goal should always be to provide a full, fair and accurate account of the state of play without any personal biases leaking in. That's true whether you are writing for the Washington Post, writing a blog, hosting your own web-video show or appearing on television. Good journalism is good journalism.

7) Where do you go for your political news? (Do you ever take a look at what's happening on YouTube?)

I go to a lot of places but here's what is on my navigation bar: Politico (specifically blogs by Ben Smith and Jonathan Martin), The Page, Marc Ambinder's blog at The Atlantic, Hotline, YouTube's news and politics homepage, Drudge Report, Huffington Post. I also have a few media websites (Fishbowl DC, Michael Calderone's blog, Romenesko), the Post's music blog (Post Rock) and a few sports sites -- mostly so that I can monitor my faltering fantasy baseball teams.

8) I know it's hard to pick a favorite child, but which of your FixCam videos (produced thus far) do you love most?

MAN. That is tough. I have been getting more and more familiar with iMovie the more I work with it so I think some of the newer ones are better. I really liked the one I did on campaign jingles because I got to dress up in costumes. I also dug the latest FixCam Week in Preview because of the video montage set to the Doors' "The End". For raw hilarity/idiocy, it's hard to pick against the debut of The Fix t-shirt.

9) Can you really buy "The Fix" T-shirts online?

Stay tuned. Deals are being struck. Wheels are turning. Stuff is happening. The only way to really know is to CONSTANTLY click on The Fix. Maybe 100 times a day :)

Check out the latest FixCam:

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Obama camp announces victory on YouTube... even before his speech is over

In typically laser-fast fashion, the Obama campaign posted a YouTube clip to their YouTube channel announcing his victory - even before he'd spoken his last word at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minn. The Obama campaign surely enjoyed titling this one...

The Latin Factor

While Hillary Clinton’s sweeping victory in Puerto Rico might not be enough to secure her party’s nomination, it brought one factor into focus: that Hispanic voters are going to play a key role in the upcoming presidential election. Recognizing this, the candidates, not to mention their supporters, are making direct appeals on YouTube to Hispanic voters—like this video from Barack Obama, in which the Illinois senator addresses Puerto Rican voters in Spanish.

The video wasn’t enough to help him win on Sunday, but he’s certainly resonating with many Hispanic voters. Indeed, some big-name Latin celebrities and recently collaborated on a Spanish-language music video supporting Obama, targeted specifically at the Hispanic community.

Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton (still in the race as of this posting) has consistently done well among Hispanic voters, and her YouTube channel features several videos directed to the Spanish-speaking community. However, her most popular Spanish-language video isn't technically's a music video from user and Clinton-supporter lopezdashayala entitled Hillary, Hillary Clinton. It's arguably one of the catchiest campaign songs you’ll hear this year.

John McCain is also doing what he can to sway Hispanic voters. In his most recent YouTube video, posted over Memorial Day Weekend, McCain asks us to remember the many Hispanics—some legal citizens, some not—who’ve served and continue to serve in the U.S. armed forces, and especially those who’ve sacrificed their lives. “These are God’s children…and they have enriched our culture and our nation as every generation of immigrants before them.”

So whose message will resonate most with Hispanic voters? It’s probably too early to predict—but you can bet that up until November, you’ll see the remaining candidates continuing to argue their case—en inglés y español.

Monday, June 2, 2008

YouTube political star Steve Novick in the NYT

There's a great piece in today's NYT about Steve Novick, a candidate whose failed bid for the Democratic Senate nomination in Oregon used YouTube extensively. Novick's YouTube videos, like the one at the footer of this post, gained lots of attention on the web and built buzz around his under-financed campaign.

One quote from the article, from Novick's campaign manager, is false:

“We don’t know how many people who saw the ads were Oregon voters, as opposed to people in Norway,” Mr. Weigler said. “But the impact on YouTube was substantially larger than people seeing them on their TV screens, and that was something new.”

Fact is, using YouTube's Insight tool, you can find out who is watching your videos and from where. Citzentube did a quick check on Novick's videos, and we can tell you that a majority of the views did not come from Norway, but from Oregon...

You Choose ’08: Monday Round-Up

No time to watch TV coverage of the DNC’s Rules and Bylaws Committee Meeting this weekend? Not to worry. Catch up on Election ’08 by watching these vids.

Clinton Supporter Thrown Out...(firedoglake)

Always & Forever: The Town Hall (mccainblogette)

FL & MI Ruling and Reaction (JoeFelice)

Younger Than McCain - The Song! (youngerthanmcCain)

Floridian Democrats for McCain (howarddean19)