Sunday, March 29, 2009

YouTube Rep of the Week Asks 'Where Should The Money Go'?

As Congress considers this year's budget and the many areas that require funding -- health care, education, defense, the stimulus -- they're going to have some tough choices to make due to the economic crisis. That's why this week's Representative of the Week , Congressman Tim Ryan (D-OH), wants your input as to what Congress's budget priorities should be:

You can visit the YouTube House Hub now to offer your budget suggestions to Congressman Ryan. In addition, Senator Grassley (R-IA) is back on the Senate Hub, responding to your health care reform ideas from last week:

Your suggestions on health care reform ranged from giving all citizens the same health care benefits that Members of Congress receive to doing away with group insurance. And while Senator Grassley was not able to address all of these ideas, many of them are worthy of further exploration -- you can view the full list of ideas now at

Friday, March 27, 2009

Millions Watch Gordon Brown Scolded in Parliament

Daniel Hannan, a Conservative member of the European Parliament from South East England, posted a video to YouTube, in which he chastises UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown at a meeting of the European Parliament in Strasbourg on Tuesday. Hannan attacked Brown for how he's handled the economy crisis, and told the Prime Minster that he was "the devalued Prime Minister of a devalued government," among other strongly-worded statements.

The impassioned speech, uploaded to Hannan's own YouTube account, has nearly 1.3 million views and almost 9,000 comments at the time of this post.

The President's Online Townhall: What did you think?

Leave a comment for the White House...

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Red River Rising

Citizens in the Red River Valley, which spans across North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota and Montana, have been preparing for massive flooding for the past several days. The Red River has a history of flooding -- the last major flood was back in 1997 -- and this year is expected to be one of the worst in history.

People and organizations on the ground have been posting videos to YouTube, capturing what conditions are like as the area prepares.

The American Red Cross produced a video for residents with advice for how to prepare safely for the flooding.

Senator Conrad of North Dakota posted a video asking citizens to get involved and help in the preparations:

Many of these videos show the efforts of citizens working together to build walls of sandbags to keep the water out. Officials in Fargo, ND say that at least 2 million sandbags are needed to protect the city.

User jennalee02 made a five-part video diary in Moorhead, MN showing the world what's going on there as residents prep their houses for the flood.

Minnesota Public Radio did an amazing time-lapse video of people sandbagging in the "Fargodome" in Fargo, ND.

And a Coast Guard helicopter posted a video on the official Coast Guard channel of their crew rescuing six people in Abercrombie, ND. (

As the river rises there will surely be more video footage uploaded to YouTube, so stay tuned.

The New York Times is doing really cool stuff with video

The New York Times is doing really cool stuff with video

Just a quick hat-tip to the New York Times, which is really getting into a groove with its YouTube channel. Three highlights of late:

1) Nick Kristof launched his "Win a Trip" with Nick contest, which invited students to apply to accompany him on his next reporting trip and used YouTube as a submission platform. The lucky winner was announced a few weeks ago.

2) The Times started a series called "The New Hard Times," which is focused on collecting memories and advice from Americans who lived through the Great Depression. They are inviting the community to submit videos of themselves or friends or family sharing their experiences from the Depression and offering insight for how to deal with today's difficult economic climate.

Here's a video from June Reifstroffer Hammer, who was interviewed by her 13-year-old grandson, Samuel. Her account gets pretty emotional about 40 seconds in.

3) And finally, the Times did a "behind-the-scenes" look at President Obama's prime-time press conference from earlier this week. They gave those of us not able to attend the event in person a little taste of what it's like before the live, televised portion begins -- providing access where previously there's been none.

Definitely worth subscribing and keeping an eye on what these savvy video journalists and their editors are up to next...

YouTube Nonprofit Raises $10,000 for Clean Water in a Single Day

This week, we launched a new "Call to Action" feature for YouTube nonprofit partners, which allows them to drive traffic from an in-video overlay to an off-site page where they can collect donations, signatures or email addresses. Already, we're seeing nonprofit organizations use this new feature with great success.

On Sunday, to commemorate World Water Day, we featured a video from charity:water on the YouTube homepage, which used a call-to-action overlay to encourage YouTube users to donate money to build wells and provide clean, safe drinking water for those who don't have it.

The response from the YouTube community was overwhelming -- thanks to you, charity:water was able to raise over $10,000 in one day from the video. That's enough to build two brand-new wells in the Central African Republic and give over 150 people clean drinking water for 20 years!

Feeling inspired? If you're a YouTube nonprofit partner, adding a call-to-action overlay is easy. Just go to "Edit Video" and fill out the fields in the section marked "Call to Action Overlay". Then click "Save" and the overlay should appear on your video. And if you're a nonprofit organization in the U.S. or U.K. who hasn't yet joined the YouTube Nonprofit Program, but would like to gain access to Call to Action and other special benefits, you can apply now at

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The White House is Open for Questions

Go here to submit.

Who are you, NewsPoliticsNews?

Take a look at the "Most Viewed" section of today - and you'll see that there's one story dominating the thumbnail-dom: the FedEx plane crash in Tokyo. While this probably won't surprise you, what you might find interesting is that 2 of the top 3 videos are uploaded by the same user - NewsPoliticsNews.

This plucky YouTuber has played the same game that so many other fair-use fanatics have played the past three years - uploading the most interesting bits of news to YouTube - but he/she/they(?) have been consistently hitting the tops of the charts.

Look at NewsPoliticsNews' channel - it's chalk full of news clips from TV that have racked up hundreds of thousands of views (though the top clip, of a screaming crowd of would-be models at "America's Top Model") does look like it could have been shot by our mystery uploader.

The success of TV rips on YouTube is not new. And we have a first-rate content ID system that allows original content owners to take down infringing material, or claim it as their own and run ads against it. Yet NewsPoliticsNews doesn't seem to be getting the attention of the networks, and is grabbing their audiences on YouTube with increasing effectiveness. CNN sure would have like to have picked up these extra 600K viewers.

So who are you, NewsPoliticsNews, and what is your story? Citizentube would welcome a post - annonymous or otherwise.

Monday, March 23, 2009

U.S. Navy Posts Videos of Chinese Encounter to YouTube

The U.S. Navy is using YouTube to document a dangerously close encounter they had with Chinese ships while running drills in international waterspace over the weekend. There are 8 videos, which can be found on the Navy's YouTube channel here.

You can learn more from this post in Computerworld, where we discovered the story. We didn't even know the U.S. Navy had a YouTube channel... perhaps because the username, oddly, is "moritzdj".

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Party Politics: 40 Fundraisers in One Day

The American News Project recently set out to visit every Congressional fundraising shindig on Capitol Hill in a given day (total number of parties: 40) and created this video documenting the results:

Definitely an intriguing way to highlight the issue of campaign finance and how money is spent in Washington.

Water, Water Everywhere But Not a Drop to Drink

Currently, 1.1 billion people don't have access to clean drinking water -- that's one out of every six people on the planet. Today, to commemorate World Water Day, we're featuring three videos on the home page that highlight the urgency and importance of providing clean water and sanitation to every single global citizen.

This video, from YouTube nonprofit partner charity:water, conveys the urgent need to build wells in the Central African Republic by juxtaposing powerful images with Beck's "Time Bomb":

Like charity:water, GOOD Magazine is also leveraging pop culture to spur citizens to take action. They've created a three-video series, rooted in familiar water-oriented scenes from iconic films and television, to demonstrate that life without clean water can be a very frightening prospect:

And if you're looking for straight facts without the fluff, this brief documentary from the International Red Cross provides specific information about how chronic water and sanitation challenges are affecting Zambia.

You can help solve the global water crisis by contributing to these worthy organizations -- and by sharing their messages with your friends.

Ramya Raghavan
YouTube Nonprofits & Activism

Friday, March 20, 2009

GOP Congressional Channels Beating the Dems -Washington Times

Some interesting analysis on vieweing of GOP YouTube videos vs. Democratic clips. According to Tube Mogul in the Washington Times, the GOP is leading the view count race.

The number one video is from Representative Don Young of Alaska - urging Congress to open up drilling in AMWR. However, this video reached it's 976K views before we even officially launched Congress on to YouTube....

President Obama uses YouTube for Public Diplomacy with Iran

You're going to see this video embedded a LOT over the next few days. It's President Obama's message to the Iranian people on their holiday of Nowruz. Learn more in the White House blog.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

He Vlogs! Mass. Governor Patrick's use of YouTube

Jacob Soboroff of Why Tuesday blogged about Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick's use of YouTube to engage in a dialogue about election reform. Here's the post.

Teen Violence Campaign Launched on YouTube

[guest-blogged by George Weiner of]

“SHAME ON YOU RHIANNA!!!” Anonymous Teen (NY Times)

The New York Times covered the real story and impact that the highly publicized Chris Brown and Rihanna incident has had on American Teens.

"Yeah, men hit women, and women hit men. It was blown out of proportion because they’re celebrities," the Times quoted one 17-year old from Texas.

Do Something had a different response from their teenagers - outrage. Do Something teen members created this reenactment video to show the incident without celebrities and tell the real story of teen dating abuse.

The fact is that 1 in 3 teens is abused in a relationship. Check out our video and send it to your friends:

- George Weiner,

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

From an Amazing Desk, Senator Grassley Asks for Your Thoughts on Health Care

We're heading into Round 3 of YouTube's Senator of the Week and this week's featured Senator, Chuck Grassley (R-IA), wants you to visit the YouTube Senate Hub and voice your thoughts on an issue that played a big role in the 2008 election: health care reform.

In this video, Senator Grassley shows off his amazing Senate Hub desk (surely the coolest Technicolor innovation since Joseph busted out his Dreamcoat), then hits the hallowed halls of Congress to ask Americans what they think should be changed (or kept the same) about the American health care system. But he also wants to hear from those of you who couldn't make the trek to DC:

Do you think that health care premiums are too high? Have a plan to lower the price of prescription drugs? Or do you like the current health care system and want it to remain the same? Whatever your idea, Senator Grassley is all ears, so sound off at And even if you don't have your own three-point plan for health care reform, you can always use Moderator to vote up other citizens' ideas that you like. As always, the top suggestions will be responded to via video next week by the Senator.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Woops: TroopTube Blocked

From Wired: Military Blocks Its Own 'YouTube' Knockoff

Though we understand security concerns always take precedence, we'd sure love to see the Military use YouTube so that soldiers and their families could connect on video...

YouTube Series: Faces of the Foreclosure

The Consumers Union, a nonprofit that publishes credit reports, is posting a series of videos to YouTube that profile people whose homes have been foreclosed. It's a sobering set of videos that brings a personal face to the credit crisis. Check them out on their channel, or see this one here:

Monday, March 16, 2009

Best video of the day: Bridge Demolition set to Opera Music

From VDOT, the VA Department of Transportation:

Shuttle Launch in HD


Friday, March 13, 2009

Driving the Message Home

Great piece in the New York Times today about how a woman in Saudi Arabia used YouTube to post a video of herself driving a car - an act of civil disobedience in a country where woman are not allowed to drive. Wajeha al-Huwaider, a Saudi women's rights activist, illegally drove her car for one minute along a public highway to protest in honor of International Women's Day.

Check out the article for a full report and to watch the video.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

At 13, Barely Old Enough for YouTube - but Old Enough for CPAC

Jonathan Krohn received some big attention at CPAC this year and even found himself on the cover of the New York Times Style Section last weekend. Who is Jonathan Krohn? A 13 year old wunderkind for the GOP, whose dynamic speaking style and passion for conservatism has brought him a nationwide profile.

At 13, he's just barely old enough (under YouTube's TOS) to start a YouTube channel to post his myriad of TV appearances, so his father Doug has taken to the task. You can see Jonathan on Doug's channel here. And, watch the speech that brought him national attention below.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Simulating the Hudson River crash landing

Check out this amazing computer animation that tracks the flight path of US Airways 1549 right before it crash landed in the Hudson River back in January. The actual air traffic control audio track overlays the animation to give you a vivid sense of what actually happened that day. Courtesy of TechCrunch:

Congress Responds to Your Ideas, Even Those that Made Pepsi Shoot out of Your Nose

Last Tuesday, Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO) and Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) launched Round 2 of YouTube Senator/Representative of the Week by asking you to offer your thoughts on two important issues facing Congress right now: how to eliminate wasteful spending and whether 401k plans should be nationalized.

On the Senate Hub, in response to McCaskill's question, you put forth 77 insightful suggestions about how the United States could cut back on wasteful spending. Bill from Ozark, Missouri suggested that the government "stop the "cost-plus" arrangement that allows a contractor to name its own price for services rendered," while YouTube user pbg22 advised,"don't limit your search to the traditional Military and R&D projects. I work in transportation and contract waste is everywhere." Here Senator McCaskill responds to the ideas you voted to the top of the pile:

Over on the House Hub , respondents overwhelmingly agreed that 401k plans should not be nationalized -- Trevor from Akron was so horrified at the idea of nationalization that "upon viewing this video, the Pepsi I was drinking came shooting out my nose and I began to cough." Meanwhile, Gary from Texas offered this rationale for why he didn't support nationalization: "Nationalizing 401K de-emphasizes the basic premise of our work ethic. It provides an avenue for "Big Government" to impose additional administrative fees (tax) for earmark spending." For Representative McMorris Rodgers' response, watch this video:

If you have thoughts about either of these issues, but didn't submit them the House Hub or Senate Hub on time, you can still join the conversation by posting a video response or adding a comment to either McCaskill's or McMorris Rodgers' response video.

Stop Spending Our Future... and Win 500 Dollars Today

There's a whole lotta spending going on in Washington these days, and the Heritage Foundation has just launched a new YouTube contest and petition to raise concern. And they're using that time-honored hook to get you feeling guilty: child spokespeople. Check out the video below, and submit your video on govt. spending to the "Stop Spending Our Future" YouTube group. Winner gets 500 bucks.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Christmas in Darfur

After hearing celebrity after celebrity use his or her fame to raise awareness for the crisis in Darfur, Jason Mojica decided to spend Christmas there this past year. He wanted to see for himself what was happening on the ground. So he bought a video camera, read the manual on the plane ride over, and then made a short documentary of his experience. Here's a preview:

Meet Obama's New Green Jobs Adviser, Van Jones

Van Jones, founder of YouTube nonprofit partner Green for All and leader of the green jobs movement, has just been appointed to the position of Special Adviser for Green Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation in the Obama Administration.

Van Jones may be new to the White House but he's no stranger to YouTube. Here's one of his most recent speeches, from Powershift 09, which brought 12,000 climate activists to Washington D.C.:

Still hazy on what the green jobs movement is all about? This documentary from Working Films spotlights Jones and provides context on how green jobs can lift people out of poverty:

Monday, March 9, 2009

Forget Slumdog; Israeli Arms Contractors Want to Be Millionaires

Recent reports have indicated that Israel has overtaken Russia as India’s single-largest defense material supplier. Now Israeli arms firm Rafael is using YouTube to ensure that it gets a piece of the pie.

In an attempt to increase its missile sales to India, Rafael introduced this Bollywood dance number-based marketing video at the recently held Aero India 2009 in Bangalore:

Abercrombie Announces Run for Hawaii Governor on YouTube

Congressman Neil Abercrombie, representative for the 1st District of Hawaii, announced his candidacy for Governor of Hawaii via YouTube last Friday.

He's already uploaded another video to his personal channel -- an informal address to his supporters bringing the message of hope and change from Washington D.C. back to Hawaii. Given his parallel announcements on Twitter and Facebook, it's safe to say Abercrombie is riding the wave of his state's hometown hero and taking a page from Obama's new media playbook.


Friday, March 6, 2009

A CNN for the slums

Spotlight on a cool YouTube channel doing innovative things with video in the developing world: Video Volunteers. This non-profit group is creating a self-described "CNN or BBC for the one billion people living on less than two dollars a day."

Their idea is pretty simple, albeit not easy to pull off. Basically, they're trying to empower people living in slums and villages around the world by giving them the tools to produce video content. By enabling local communities to create videos telling their story with affordable video and editing equipment, Video Volunteers hopes to set up a "global community media network."

They're doing amazing work already in India. Take a look at this video, in which young kids take action on the lack of a playground in their neighborhood:

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Dems "Glueing" Limbaugh to the GOP

Ever since Rush Limbaugh's comments last week that he hopes President Obama will "fail" in his efforts to revive the American economy, Democratic groups have been trying to portray the controversial conservative radio talk show host as the leader of the Republican party, which doesn't want to help America get back on its feet.

Watch the latest ad from Americans United for Change, a labor-affiliated group in Washington D.C. The Caucus blog on calls this "yet another step in a choreographed campaign to affix Rush Limbaugh (using cement glue) to the Republicans."

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

3 things on 3/3

Get on the Tube to Congress

We're excited to launch Round 2 of "Senator of the Week" on YouTube's Senate Hub today, giving you another opportunity to use Google Moderator to offer Members of Congress your thoughts on the most important issues facing America right now.

This week's featured Senator is Claire McCaskill (D-MO) who is the new chairman of a subcommittee on contracting oversight. McCaskill wants to hear how you think Congress can eliminate wasteful spending:

In addition, we're kicking off the first installment of "Representative of the Week" with Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA). If you head over to the YouTube House Hub now, you can weigh in on the debate about whether Congress should nationalize 401k plans:

Congress is waiting to hear your thoughts on these issues, which are being hotly debated on the Hill right now, so head over to and and make your voice heard.

Ramya Raghavan
YouTube News & Politics

Monday, March 2, 2009

White House videos on YouTube

Cross posted from the Google Public Policy Blog: link

Since before President Obama's inauguration, we at YouTube have been working with the federal government and the transition team to help make government more accessible and open through the use of video.

As part of that effort, the staff who control --the official site of the White House--embedded a YouTube player on that site. In the weeks since, some privacy advocates have criticized that decision, saying that visitors to federal websites should not receive a cookie from YouTube (a cookie is a piece of data about users or their computers that help us, for example, insure that video statistics such as view counts are accurate). We want to assure all visitors to federal websites that we're aware of this issue and have taken steps that meet the government's privacy requirements.

To ensure that we openly communicate about privacy issues on all federal websites that use our technology, we created an embeddable video player that does not send a cookie until the visitor plays the video, and we added a link to our privacy policy so that visitors know who is sending the cookie if they choose to play the video. The White House also informs visitors about these cookies in its privacy policy.

This past weekend, in presenting the President's most recent weekly Saturday address, the White House decided to use its own embedded player instead of the YouTube player on One report stated that the White House had "ditched" YouTube.

That report is wrong. The White House decision does not mean that the White House has stopped using YouTube. The White House continues to post videos to its YouTube channel, as do other agencies like the U.S. Department of Education and the State Department. These channels are part of a broader effort within the General Services Administration (GSA) to help federal agencies communicate directly with citizens on YouTube.

Here at YouTube, we support every effort by governments around the world to reach out to the public using any tool or platform possible. It's been exciting for us to see how effectively President Obama and others have used online tools such as YouTube to make government more transparent and participatory--and we look forward to seeing more of the same in the U.S and throughout the globe in the future.

-Steve Grove, YouTube News and Politics

Supreme Court Using YouTube?

The New York Times has an interesting article on how video evidence is being used in the court of law.

The Supreme Court is entering the YouTube era.

The first citation in a petition filed with the court last month, for instance, was not to an affidavit or legal precedent but rather to a video link. The video shows what is either appalling police brutality or a measured response to an arrested man’s intransigence — you be the judge.

Definitely worth a read.

Weekly GOP Responses on YouTube

President Obama has made his weekly Presidential Addresses a new YouTube phenomenon... but Democrats aren't the only ones taking to the tubes to get their weekly talking points out. Each week the GOP follows time-honored tradition and responds with their own address, posted by a different party representative each time. Here's the latest, from Senator Burr of North Carolina.

The only challenge with the GOP's responses on YouTube is that they are posted to a different account each week, and can be hard to find... unless you're on the email list, or surfing They might want to consider posting them to a consistent channel each week so they can build a brand and subscriber base around the responses, like the White House has on