Tuesday, September 30, 2008

What would YOU ask McCain and Obama?

[cross-posted from the Google blog]

Millions of Americans tuned in last Friday night for the first Presidential debate between Senator Obama and Senator McCain. Historically, the debates are led by a moderator from a prestigious news organization, asking questions to each candidate and leaving time for a rebuttal from the other. Friday night was no different, with the well-respected Jim Lehrer from PBS serving as the debate moderator.

Many have argued that we should consider new ways for the candidates to debate. Technology has enabled a historic number of voters to learn from and participate in the election process -- something that was well illustrated by the CNN/YouTube debates.

While we're not officially part of the Commission of Presidential Debates, a few days ago we launched Google Moderator. It's a free tool which enables communities to submit and vote on questions for debates, presentations and events. This way, the best and most representative questions rise to the top.

One of the featured series on Google Moderator is U.S. Presidential Debates 2008 which, at the time of this writing, has 730 people already contributing 230 questions that have over 11,000 votes. Top questions submitted so far include:

  • Many Americans feel it's unfair to saddle taxpayers with the bailout of irresponsible Wall Street firms. What caused this mess and what is a fair solution which benefits the average American, not the executives who got us here in the first place? - Suggested by Doug H, Los Angeles, CA
  • What will be your single, top priority for your first 100 days in office? - Suggested by Shira, Pensacola, FL
  • What will you do to reduce the size or increase the efficiency of the US government? - Suggested by Dave M, Philadelphia, PA
Do these questions represent your concerns? What would you ask the Presidential candidates? Who knows, maybe NBC legend Tom Brokaw will have a look at what you're asking before he moderates the next Presidential debate on October 7th in Nashville!

- Katie Stanton, Google

Monday, September 29, 2008

Project: Report: 6 Days Left to Submit in Round One!

In response to our call for aspiring journalists with untold stories to tell, reporters from around the globe have been sharing profiles of interesting, compelling individuals in their communities. Already, we've heard about a former truck driver who lost his job and found himself on the streets, a World War II veteran who served his country heroically on D-Day, and an 11-year-old baseball player diagnosed as deaf at the age of one.

Check out wisselvallig's profile of Pakistani-born Muslim, Sohail Khan, who teaches high school physics in Flower Mound, Texas, a mostly-white, affluent suburb 10 miles north of Dallas.

Do you know someone whose life or work is inspiring? Someone you think the world should know about? Now is your chance to tell their story!

There are just six days left before the deadline for Round One of Project: Report. To be eligible for the grandprize $10,000 journalism fellowship with the Pulitzer Center to report on a story abroad and technology prizes from Sony & Intel, submit your video profile (which must be three minutes or less, and in English or with English subtitles) to the Project: Report channel by midnight PST on October 5.

Good luck!

Olivia M.
YouTube News & Politics

You Choose '08: Monday Hotlist

McCain and Obama debated for the first time last week...see how the candidates are spinning it (not to mention the satirists) on this week's Monday Hotlist.

First 2008 Presidential Debate (Full Video) (CSPAN)

McCain Is Right (johnmccaindotcom)

Barack Obama on the Debates in Greensboro, NC (barackobamadotcom)

Red State Update: First McCain-Obama Debate (TravisandJonathan)

McCain's Brain #3: The First Debate with Obama (thejanitor)

Sunday, September 28, 2008

The Kiwis launch a YouTube Debate with major broadcast partner TVNZ

[cross-posted from the YouTube New Zealand blog]

A couple of weeks ago, the 2008 New Zealand general elections were called, with Kiwis going to the polls in early November.

Today, we're thrilled to announce the ONE News YouTube Election Debate between Helen Clark and John Key, a history-making initiative with New Zealand's public broadcaster, TVNZ. This marks the first time the head of a national government and a challenger will face YouTube video questions in an official live TV debate. The debate will be broadcast live on TV ONE on October 14.

So now it's over to you.

This is your chance to interact directly with the leaders of both parties - all questions are welcome. Be as creative and compelling as you like, just keep your questions under 30 seconds. You may be a frequent YouTube user, or you may be giving it a go for the first time. The power of video is that you can show where you're coming from, instead of just saying it. Whether you're on a train, in a classroom, outside your lecture hall, in the centre of the city, on the water's edge, in front of Parliament in Wellington, or an expat Kiwi abroad... get your camera and ask away.

TVNZ will be selecting the questions that are personal, short, and relevant. You can only ask one question per video, but you can submit as many videos as you have questions.

Remember - the debate will take place October 14, so get your video submissions in NOW and stay tuned to see the questions -- and the answers -- as the country's leaders respond directly to the issues that matter most to you.

Gingrich Gives Away Gas on YouTube

Back in early August, Newt Gingrich and his team at American Solutions came to YouTube with a unique idea: spark a discussion about drilling for oil on the site, and give away a free year of gasoline to the person who made the best video explaining why we need to - in the words of the former Speaker - "Drill here, drill now."

They got some interesting submissions. One person created "Onion Breath", a short commercial showing that high fuel prices lead to high food prices on items like, say... onions... Another entrant spent 2 minutes talking to a sock puppet while pouring a quart of oil over his head. And of course someone made an emotionally charged music video, complete with slo-mo graphics and rippling Ameircan flags.

Gingrich and company chose 3 finalists and let their community on American Solutions vote for the winner, and that winner was 24-year old Shamus Green, from Louisville, Kentucky. His video stars a 3-year old child who is burdened by debt after taking her "car" to the gas station.

Shamus, had this to say on American Solutions website:

"I know the constant dread of watching the needle on the gas tank. For our energy, we need to do it all, using wind, solar and other sources, but we also need to drill here and drill now. The international powers that be think they have the United States where they want us – it’s time to show them that we are taking back control of our future. The money that we would save would allow us to contribute more to the global economy, give to charities, and to save for our children’s future."

Saturday, September 27, 2008

The Obama camp "scares" its own supporters into action

The latest video on the Obama campaign's YouTube channel is worth a look. For an Obama supporter, watching "Bad News" must feel like a chilling look into the electoral crystal ball. A nifty mash-up of past election results footage, the video imagines what a John McCain victory might look like on November 4th... the goal seems to be to raise the stakes for Obama supporters and remind them to register to vote.

With voter registration deadlines looming in many states, expect to see more and more video content pointing people to VoteforChange.com in the coming weeks. The campaign recently got Alecia Keys to make a video about the site:

Friday, September 26, 2008

Citizentube: Friday Five

Palin talks to Couric, Silverman stumps for Obama, Nader teams up with Obama Girl, and a new animated political show hits the scene. Here’s this week’s Friday Five.

Palin On Foreign Policy (CBS)

Excerpt from Katie Couric’s recent interview with Sarah Palin.

Sarah Silverman and The Great Schlep (TheGreatSchlep)

Comedian Sarah Silverman encourages Jews to vote for Obama.

Sarah Palin Better Than Barack Obama (OurCountryPack)

Political Action Committee's ad supporting Sarah Palin.

The OBAMA GIRL and RALPH NADER Show! (barelypolitical)

Ralph Nader and Obama Girl team up in barely political's latest video.

Scientists Dumbfounded by New Trend in Global Colding (onthebubblenews)

Teaser for new animated political humor show.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Announcing "In My Name," a Global Effort to End Poverty

Today, in New York City, world leaders will meet to discuss the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), eight time-bound, measurable goals that they set in the year 2000 to combat global poverty. These ambitious objectives were promises made to the poor, meant to hold world leaders accountable for ending global poverty by 2015. Today, we are halfway there.

That's why YouTube, Will.i.am, and nonprofit organizations Oxfam, GCAP, Save the Children and Comic Relief are launching "In My Name," a global effort to raise awareness around these goals -- and to give you the opportunity to tell your leaders to do more. See Will's message on the project here:

Bono, John Legend, Scarlett Johansson, Fergie and others are joining Will to speak out about the importance of achieving these goals. But world leaders also need to hear from you.

From now through November 1, visit www.youtube.com/inmyname to upload a video stating your name, your home country, and your simple message to your government about the need to meet the MDGs. Be as creative, compelling, simple, or wordy as you like -- this is your chance to join the video petition to end world hunger.

At the end of the program on November 1, a mash-up of the most powerful submissions from around the world will be broadcast directly to global leaders at the United Nations General Assembly, as proof that global citizens are holding them to their commitment to create a better world for everyone.

You can make a difference in the fight against poverty -- all it takes is your name.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

You Choose '08 Spotlight: Udall vs. Pearce

Next up in the You Choose '08 Spotlight are Tom Udall and Steve Pearce in the New Mexico Senate race. It's a hot one down there... hear more from Olivia, then submit your question by SEPTEMBER 29th.

Monday, September 22, 2008

You Choose '08: Monday Hotlist

McCain and Obama's latest ads, a military wife throws her support toward McCain, Barely Political breaks out the age card, and a ninety-two year old great-grandmother explains why she’s voting for Obama. Here’s the week Monday Hotlist.

Foundation (johnmccaindotcom)

Blueprint for Change: Economy (barackobamadotcom)

Dear Mr Obama: from a Military Wife (quietvideo)

John McCain's Age Card (barelypolitical)

Great Grandmother for Obama and Biden (BubbesForObama)

Friday, September 19, 2008

Citizentube Friday Five

Nader gets philosophical, Lisa Nova does Palin, two comedians sing about the economic crisis, and those 527 groups come out swinging. Here’s this week’s Friday Five.

The Economic Meltdown Song 08 (w/Free mp3!!) (RhettandLink)

Topical (and humorous) song about the recent economic meltdown.

To Be or Not to Be: Ralph Nader Confides in Cardozo the Parrot (votenader08)

Nader reflects on what he should do to get more media attention.

Sarah Palin Exclusive Interview with Charles Gibson on ABC!! (LisaNova)

Sarah Palin (aka Lisa Nova) does an exclusive interview with Charlie Gibson.

BornAliveTruth.org Gianna ad (BornAliveTruthInfo)

Ad from BornAliveTruth.org targeted at Barack Obama.

My Friends (karinmoveon)

Ad from MoveOn.Org targeted at John McCain.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Nader Collaborating with YouTube Celebs to raise awareness

Ralph Nader's campaign took a page out of the Mike Gravel YouTube playbook this week, in launching a series of collab videos with YouTube Celebrities. He's done interviews with 3 different YouTube stars - Davis Fleetwood, Red State Update, and Renetto. It's all a part of his strategy to raise more awareness for his campaign via alternative media sources, the campaign tells Citizentube.

"By interacting directly with various internet personalities we hope not only to familiarize our campaign with a wider audience, but to give more legitimacy to this alternative medium." said John Harrison, who works for the campaign. "The Nader/Gonzalez campaign believes that you can't have democracy without a democratic media, and so we embrace the potential of YouTube to change the political discourse in this country."

All three interviews were shot by the campaign but edited by the YouTube personalities and uploaded to their personal accounts. Here they are:

And the campaign isn't done - future interviews, John tells us, will be released with Barely Political (creators of the Obama Girl) and Representative Press.

Robert Bluey, Heritage Foundation: The Citizentube Interview

Two words you might not usually associate with YouTube are "think tank". And yet over the last several months, we've seen a wave of activity on the site from think tanks—liberal, conservative, and non-partisan—across the country. From the Aspen Institute to the Carnegie Council to American Solutions, think tanks are increasingly using YouTube as a means of disseminating their positions on public policy to a global audience. And perhaps no think tank is using YouTube more effectively than the Heritage Foundation.

Dedicated to the principles of limited government, free enterprise, and traditional American Values, the Heritage Foundation has been posting videos on YouTube for nearly two years. Within that time, they've established themselves as one of the leading and most innovative think tanks on YouTube—and with over 300 videos on their YouTube channel, certainly one of the most prolific. Whether criticizing the Gang of 10 Energy Bill, or dispelling five misconceptions about the national debt, their videos succeed in making their policy analysis quick, easy to understand, and relevant to the news of the day.

Robert Bluey, director of the Heritage's Center for Media & Public Policy and editor of heritage.org, recently took time to answers some questions for Citizentube. Bluey discusses the challenge of making policy videos exciting, the yardsticks of success, and how conservatives can narrow the perceived "Internet gap" in politics:

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The Palin Effect

Ever since John McCain picked her as his running mate nearly three weeks ago, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin has ignited a spark in the presidential race, serving as a lightening rod for Republicans and Democrats alike. Little known outside of Alaska before then, she scored a major victory with her speech at the Republican National Convention earlier this month, which has been seen on YouTube over 400,000 times:

Palin, a staunchly pro-life, card-carrying member of the NRA, has succeeded in firing up the conservative base and captivating much of the country's attention; indeed, it's impossible to turn on the TV or glance at a newsstand these days without seeing a story about, or a controversy surrounding, the GOP's first female VP nominee. And nowhere—except perhaps in her hometown of Wasilla, Alaska—is Palin's popularity more visible than on YouTube.

From her RNC speech to videos of her stump speeches across the nation, to loads of press coverage, there's no shortage of Palin soundbites on the site. Her videos have ranked among the most watched news & politics videos on YouTube for the last two weeks—and interest in her (perhaps much to Team Obama's chagrin) doesn't seem to be waning.

Equally popular are videos about Palin, in which people--some famous, some not--offer their take on the Alaska governor. These range from the unbiased and supportive to the irreverent and absurd; from Peggy Noonan's unknowingly recorded remarks, to Hollywood heavyweight Matt Damon's stinging tirade, in which he called Palin's candidacy "a really bad Disney movie":

And of course, it shouldn't be surprising that Palin has already inspired a string of impersonators. SNL's Tina Fey and Gina Gershon may be the most well known, but YouTube superstar Lisa Nova (whose Palin impersonation might've been the first) and Sarah Benincasa's series of mock vlogs featuring the Alaska Governor definitely rank with the best of them:

And while Palin has yet to inspire a political anthem along the likes of will.i.am's "Yes We Can," the songs tributes (and parodies) are starting to trickle in:

Monday, September 15, 2008

U.S. State Department takes to YouTube for Public Diplomacy

Today the U.S. State Department launched a YouTube contest asking global citizens to complete the sentence, "Democracy is..." Regional winners from around the world will be selected, and finalists will get to travel to D.C., NYC, and Hollywood to meet with film professionals.

Check out their call-out, here:

You Choose '08: Monday Hotlist

McCain and Obama trade insults, GOOD Magazine gives us the run-down on the VP candidates, a McCain supporter speaks his mind, and the Obama campaign meets Les Miserables. Here's this week's Monday Hotlist.

"Honor" Ad (barackobamadotcom)

Crisis (johnmccaindotcom)

Les Misbarack (NatHeadquartersObama)

Dear Mr. Obama: Who Are You? (weneedmccain)

GOOD: Choose Your Vice (GOODMagazine)

Friday, September 12, 2008

Citizentube Friday Five

Matt Damon gets political, McCain puts out a "fact check," and a U.S. soldier offers a personal message to Barack Obama. Here's this week's Friday Five.

Damon Condemns Palin (AssociatedPress)

Famed actor shares his candid thoughts about McCain's VP pick Sarah Palin.

Fact Check (johnmccaindotcom)

John McCain’s latest ad targeted against Barack Obama.

John McCain's ads are LIES. Here's the video proof. (BraveNewPac)

Video taking Team McCain to task for many of its statements about Barack Obama.

Mac vs McCain Ad (barelypolitical)

"Hi, I’m a Mac." "And I’m John McCain."

Dear Mr. Obama (weneedmccain)

A U.S. soldier offers a personal message to Barack Obama.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Oscar-Nominated Documentary Available on YouTube

No End in Sight, the critically acclaimed 2007 documentary about the lead-up to the Iraq War, can now be seen on YouTube – but for a limited time only. Directed by Charles Ferguson and distributed by Magnolia Pictures, the film chronicles the feuds, miscalculations, and strategic blunders following the fall of Baghdad in 2003:

The entire film will be available on YouTube from September 1st to November 11th – making it the first Oscar-nominated full-length documentary to use the site as a distribution outlet. The No End in Sight YouTube channel also features behind-the-scenes footage and interviews about the making of the film. By uploading to YouTube, the filmmakers hope the film reaches a wider audience, beyond those who caught it at their local movie theater during its limited release. So if you haven’t already, do yourself a favor and check out this film. Regardless of your political affiliation, you’ll be glad you did.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

You Choose Spotlight: Udall vs. Schaffer

You asked, they answered. Today, we launched the third round of our new You Choose '08 Spotlight series, this time featuring Colorado Senate candidates Mark Udall and Bob Schaffer. Udall and Schaffer address several key issues relevant to Colorado voters, including the water rights of farmers, the Second Amendment, education, and reforming U.S. energy policy. Go to www.youtube.com/youchoose08 to check out their answers.

Monday, September 8, 2008

You Choose '08: Monday Hotlist

Palin's all the rage, a look back at the Dem Convention, and McCain gets an anthem courtesy of a country music star. Check out this week's Monday Hotlist.

Governor Sarah Palin Vlog #1 (SaraBenincasa)

I Picked A Girl by John McCain and Sarah Palin (pwwtv)

236.com: DNC in a Minute (twentythreesix)

GOP Vetting Emporium (Election08)

John Rich - Raisin' McCain Music Video (RaisingMcCain08)

Project: Report -- YouTube's First Journalism Program

Today, in partnership with the Pulitzer Center, YouTube presents Project: Report (www.youtube.com/projectreport), a journalism contest -- made possible by Sony VAIO and Intel -- for non-professional, aspiring journalists to tell stories that might not otherwise be covered by traditional media.

In each of the three rounds of Project: Report, reporters will be given an assignment to complete. Each of these assignments gives you an opportunity to report on the important individuals, issues, and communities in your life that most people do not yet know about.

The assignment for Round 1 is to profile someone in your community, in three minutes or less, highlighting a story you think deserves to be heard by a wide audience. Submit your video entry for Round 1 by midnight EST on Sunday October 5, and a panel of journalists from the Pulitzer Center will narrow the field to 10 semi-finalists. The assignment for Round 2 will then be announced, and the judging for this round will be opened up to the YouTube community to determine the five finalists who will move onto the third and last assignment. Winners of each round will receive technology prizes from Sony VAIO and Intel, and the grand prize winner will be granted a $10,000 journalism fellowship with the Pulitzer Center to report on a story outside of their home country.

Even if you did not participate in or advance past Round 1, you may still complete the assignments for Rounds 2 and 3, though you will not be eligible for the grand prize. With Project: Report, YouTube and the Pulitzer Center hope to highlight as many of your stories as possible and draw attention to important topics that have been under-reported, misreported, or not reported at all.

So, it's time to pick up that video camera, take on this assignment, and start reporting your stories to the world.

See our announcement video here:

Friday, September 5, 2008

Palin takes over YouTube

Wonder what people are watching on YouTube this week? Two words: Sarah Palin. Here's a screenshot of the most viewed videos on YouTube News & Politics this week.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Protests Heat Up Republican Convention

While Republican Party leaders and elected officials deliver addresses each night to excited delegates and guests at the Republican National Convention, there has been a lot of action outside the perimeter of the Xcel Center as well.

Thousands of RNC protesters have been active since Sunday, voicing their opinions on a number of issues including the war and the economy. Recently, however, the focus has shifted from the issues to the interaction between the police and the protesters.

The St. Paul police department issued reports of some protesters slashing tires, breaking windows and attacking members of the Connecticut delegation. Meanwhile, YouTube users have been uploading footage of riot police unleashing tear gas and pepper spray on throngs of protesters, and making mass arrests.

Journalists have been among those arrested, the most notable case being liberal talk show host Amy Goodman. This YouTube video documenting Goodman's arrest has garnered close to 500,000 views thus far and has set off a number of user responses. CitizenTube caught up with Goodman in St. Paul for her thoughts on what happened to her:

Despite arrests, a number of citizen journalists are continuing to follow the protest activity and uploading their footage to YouTube, so check back for up-to-the-minute accounts of what's happening in St. Paul, both inside and outside the convention hall.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Posting videos from St. Paul

Delegates, Party leaders, celebrities, and guests at the Republican National Convention are uploading their videos straight from St. Paul. It's your best view of the Conventions from those who are on the ground, and here's how it's happening:

Monday, September 1, 2008

Following Hurricane Gustav on YouTube

The entire country has been watching as Hurricane Gustav swept through the Caribbean and into the Gulf this weekend, making landfall in Louisiana today. The memories of Hurricane Katrina, the powerful storm that devastated New Orleans exactly three years ago, are still fresh in the minds of area residents. To ensure that no one relived that experience, Louisiana leaders ordered a mandatory evacuation on Saturday that has pushed more than 2 million to leave their homes and seek safer lodgings.

Those living in areas affected by Gustav have been uploading videos documenting the storm from their vantage points -- whether it be from inside their homes, braving the elements in their backyards, or even surveying empty streets while riding on a bike.

Check out this playlist of Hurricane Gustav videos, and keep coming back to see the latest footage uploaded from the ground.

Team McCain Responds to Gustav

In response to the impending threat of Hurricane Gustav, Team McCain has created a new website, CauseCreater.com. On the site, you can find a list of relief agencies serving residents of states along the Gulf Coast—the states that, more likely than not, will be hardest hit when Gustav makes its way to American shores.

You Choose '08: Monday Hotlist

Hurricane Gustav forces major changes to the GOP Convention, Diddy sounds off about McCain's VP pick, and conservative blogger Jason Mattera goes undercover at the DNC. Here's this week's Monday Hotlist.

McCain: 'Suspend RNC Activities Monday' (AssociatedPress)

Follow McCain's nomination week (2008Conventions)

McCain's Brain: Checking Out His VP (thejanitor)

Diddy Blog #16 - "John McCain Is Buggin The F%^k Out'"! (BadBoyRecords)

2008 Democrat National Convention, Day 5 (michellemalkin)

Follow the GOP Convention, and Gustav, on YouTube

This week it's the GOP's turn to nominate their candidate for President, at the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minnesota. With Hurricane Gustav on the horizon, the GOP has announced that the Convention will take on a muted tone - and the videos coming in from St. Paul will likely be overshadowed by the footage being uploaded from the Gulf Coast. Here on the YouTube news and politics team, we'll be keeping track of both.

Like everyone, our thoughts are with those in the Gulf Coast. We hope that Gustav's damage is limited, and that the GOP is able to proceed with at least some of the Convention programming. If they do, our Convention channel will have a 360-degree view of the proceedings, and will house the latest video coming out of the Xcel Energy Center, including speeches that might not receive prime-time TV coverage. We'll also have behind-the-scenes footage from party leaders, and attendees will be uploading their video nominations of Senator McCain at booths set up around the venue. And as the Party manages and reacts to the events in the Gulf Coast, we'll post that footage to the channel as well.

Finally, our RNC convention contest winner, Shawn Summers, will be vlogging from St. Paul and keeping you in the loop on what's happening there. Shawn was on the campaign trail with McCain just a few weeks ago and says he's excited to witness this historical gathering. Check out this mash-up of some of the best entries to the contest: