Thursday, April 30, 2009

Leaders Respond to Swine Flu Pandemic on YouTube

Check out our homepage swine flu feature on YouTube today, outlining government responses to the pandemic. Learn more in our YouTube blog.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Mass Gov. Patrick Rallying Supporters on YouTube

From WCVB TV in Boston:

BOSTON -- Gov. Deval Patrick took his effort to block a sales tax increase to a new audience on Tuesday by releasing a YouTube video to rally voters behind his cause.

The governor posted the video on Tuesday morning asking voters to contact legislators and voice their opposition to the sales tax increase, which passed a House vote late on Monday night.

Using YouTube to Fire BofA CEO

The New York Times DealBook blog cites a video created by filmmaker Robert Greenwald, who's trying to get Bank of America CEO Kenneth D. Lewis fired. The video is narrated by Robert Reich, President Clinton's Secretary of Labor.

From the Times:

The video is basically a collection of clips from news reports critical of Mr. Lewis and Bank of America for government bailouts, billions of dollars in bonuses, the Merrill Lynch purchase, high credit rates and anti-union advocacy. Interspersed between them, Mr. Greenwald repeatedly proclaims his message: “Fire Ken Lewis!”

Live Stream on YouTube: The President's News Conference

[cross-posted on the YouTube Blog]

The first three months of the Obama Administration have brought the new American President unprecedented challenges. Back in November, when he was elected, everyone knew the economy and the Middle East would be critical issues for Obama to attack early on. But like every president before him, he's had to deal with the unexpected as well: who could have predicted pirates off the Somali Coast or swine flu?

As citizens and pundits from all political perspectives analyze the President's first 100 days in office today, Obama himself will address the nation tonight on the 100-day anniversary of his inauguration -- and we're going to carry a live stream of the conference from the White House YouTube channel. Be sure to tune in at 8pm EDT to watch it live.

We're also featuring commentary and analysis from top news organizations on our homepage today. Hear Karl Rove grade the President on Fox News. Get a re-cap from Al-Jazeera on what Obama has accomplished in his opening act. Watch the Washington Post talk with Americans in DC about their early impressions of the new President.

You can join in the conversation by making a video: How is the Obama Administration doing, and what advice would you give the President moving forward? Upload your thoughts to YouTube and add them as a video response to this Citizentube video, and we'll feature some of them on our News page tomorrow.

Finally, don't forget to come to at 8pm EDT to watch President Obama address the nation.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Low-flying Air Force One Creates Panic in New York City

Yesterday, Air Force One -- a Boeing 747 jet that regularly transports President Obama -- took off on a choreographed flight around the Statue of Liberty, in what is reported to have been an official government "photo op." With memories of the 9/11 attacks still all-too-fresh in the minds of New Yorkers, the sight of a low-flying passenger aircraft in the New York City skyline incited quite a panic as people poured out of office buildings in Manhattan and Jersey City and into the streets.

A man on the street captured the mayhem as the plane flew across the sky:

Read more about what happened here.

Swine Flu news on the YouTube Home Page

We posted our first news-related bulletin on the YouTube home page yesterday, focusing on the swine flu outbreak, which is the biggest story in the news right now. Outbreaks of swine flu, a strain of the influenza virus commonly found in pigs, are cropping up around the world. 149 people have died from the disease in Mexico, and cases have been reported in the U.S., Spain, Canada, and New Zealand.

Using the new "spotlight" featured videos module, which launched last week as part of the new YouTube home page design, we will be featuring more breaking news content on the YouTube home page. Yesterday's module included video coverage from the CDC, CBS News, Associated Press, and a TED Talk given by "virus chaser" and infectious disease expert, Nathan Wolfe, on how and why viruses (like swine flu) spread.

Here's a message from Dr. Joe Bresee with the CDC Influenza Division:

Fox News Goes After Angry Soldier Who Gave Offensive "Motivational" Speech to Iraqi Police

Fox News is pursuing the identity of a U.S. soldier who's become a YouTube notable as of late for this UGC clip of his rant against the Iraqi Police force during a training exercise. The video is interesting though hard to sit through... so far, the Military has denied Fox's request for the identity of the soldier.

According to Fox News:

"The video was shot at least six to eight months ago, according to Maj. Hunter Holliday of the Multinational Force Iraq Media Operations Center. It features a U.S. soldier who begins what seems like a routine training speech for a squad of Iraqi troops. But the volume, pace and sharpness of the soldier’s voice escalates considerably in what becomes a more-than-five-minute lecture -- or tirade, depending on one’s point of view -- on his many issues with the Iraqis’ non-performance."

Here's the video:

Scottish Kiddos to YouTube: "We need a new teacher!!"

These Scottish schoolkids are using YouTube in a novel way - to recruit a new head teacher for their school. In this short clip, teems of screaming kids make the plea for a new headmaster. Who needs when you have YouTube? You have to admire their pluck, though applicants beware: these students are extremely enthusiastic.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Governor Schwarzenegger hits YouTube with his Weekly Address

Somehow we missed this last week... Governor Schwarzenegger has taken to YouTube with his weekly address to Californians. The former Hollywood star used Earth Day for his first version, and you have to say he looks much more relaxed and casual speaking from his office than the President has in his tightly-scripted addresses from the White House.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Auto-tuning the News

If you've haven't yet heard the newest video from BarelyPolitical (the masterminds behind Obama Girl) -- then you better take a look-see. While some people are thoroughly annoyed by auto-tuning (a musical effect made popular by rapper Kanye West), it definitely provides an entertaining way to get your daily news.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

YouTube Goes Green for Earth Day

In honor of Earth Day, here's a quick roundup of some of the greenest videos on YouTube right now:

  • The White House just uploaded this video, which features Van Jones from the White House Council of Environmental Quality and gives you an excellent look at how a new green economy might function.
  • Want to know how to make your life greener? Oxfam's Green Granny or GristTV's Umbra can show you the way -- or check out YouTube's "Live Green" channel for tons of helpful video suggestions.
  • If you're looking to take action on climate change, take a look at Greenpeace's latest -- aptly named, "Inspiring Action".
  • In this sustainable sing-along, guitarist Jack Johnson rocks out with the elementary school set to emphasize the importance of recycling.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Mayor Newsom Announces Candidacy on YouTube

It's official. Read more here.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

What to Do If You Have Too Much Money

Wow. That's a lot of yard signs. Nice oppo-video work from the Moran campaign in VA. Let's hope that saving Virginia's forests wasn't the top item on Terry McAuliffe's gubernatorial platform.

Friday, April 17, 2009

From the "Story of Stuff" to Plastic Bag Pollution

Free Range Studios has a long track record of cleverly using animation to highlight important causes, most notably through "The Meatrix" and the viral hit "The Story of Stuff".

This week, Free Range launched their newest YouTube video, titled "The Bay v. the Bag". Created for nonprofit partner Save the SF Bay, the video is an attempt to raise awareness about the amount of plastic bag pollution that currently exists:

The video also includes an example of the new "Call to Action" in-video overlay for YouTube nonprofit partners, which drives citizens to take action against plastic bag pollution.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

CNN vs. the Tea Partiers

Hundreds of videos were posted to YouTube after Tax Day "Tea Party" protests that went down all across the country yesterday. Held in the spirit of the 1773 Boston Tea Party, these modern day tea parties were organized to protest the Obama administration's increased government spending and tax policies.

The most viewed news video on YouTube today is actually a clip in which CNN reporter Susan Roesgen visits one of these tea parties being held in Chicago and engages an angry crowd of protesters. They don't exactly welcome CNN's presence at the largely right-wing gathering (which was fully supported and promoted by the conservative cable news network, Fox News). Watch the clip here:

A group called the Founding Bloggers arrived on the scene just after the CNN-protester altercation and captured some footage and interviews with members of the riled-up crowd.

EPA Launches Green Video Contest in Honor of Earth Day

With Earth Day fast approaching, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is asking citizens to join its Earth Day Video Project by creating videos that discuss what they're are doing to improve the environment in their communities.

The EPA will feature the best submissions on their website and YouTube channel. This video from Girl Scout Troop 2077 about how other scouts can spread a green message is currently featured:

For guidelines on how you can join the EPA's Earth Day Project, please click here.

The Biggest Display of Democracy in the World

Starting today, India begins general election proceedings for the 15th Lok Sabha, the lower house of the Parliament of India. The elections will occur over the course of one month, with final results announced on May 16th.

The Election Commission of India expects 714 million people to cast their votes this year, and in anticipation, it has uploaded a number of videos in both English and Hindi about proper election administration to its YouTube channel. For example, this video trains election officials on how to be a good presiding officer.

If you're looking for tales from the campaign trail, NDTV has been covering the Indian election season closely on YouTube for the past few months, highlighting trends like the youth vote:

And if you're still hungry for information, please visit the Google India Elections Center for the most comprehensive information about Members of Parliament, this year's candidates, development across parliamentary constituencies, and much more.

Happy voting,
Ramya Raghavan
YouTube News & Politics

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Bo Knows YouTube

The new first pup has taken the country, and YouTube, by storm. Yesterday, the White House posted this video of Bo prancing on the lawn of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, and already, it has received over 40,000 views:

But Bo's breeding has come under speculation and not just by by shelter-dog lovers who wanted Obama to keep his promise. For example, the guys at Red State Update posted this video joking that the choice of a Portuguese water dog is a disgrace to America, while others are tackling important questions like, "how well can a water dog really swim?"

The jury is still out as to whether Bo will launch his own YouTube channel soon, featuring content from a White House puppy cam.

A Gathering Storm of Parodies

Last week on CitizenTube we wrote about the National Organization for Marriage's anti-gay marriage commercial and the actor audition tapes, which were leaked onto YouTube and have been taken down.

Since then, we've seen dozens of videos parodying the commercial, entitled "A Gathering Storm". Here's a sampling:

And finally, one from the veterans at BarelyPolitical:


Tuesday, April 14, 2009

New Nonprofit Partners Weigh in on Dating Violence, Teach You How to Get Your Bike on A Bus

Here's what's been going on in the world of YouTube Nonprofits since we last spoke:

* Do Something released this video to raise awareness about the fact that 1 in 3 teens are abused in a relationship, after a New York Times article about Rihanna and Chris Brown's domestic violence incident quoted teens saying that dating violence wasn't a major issue. The video has received over 500,000 views and according to DoSomething's Chief Technology Officer, the organization has gotten close to 250,000 requests for dating abuse awareness bracelets.

* The Iowa Bicycle Coalition aims to educate citizens about the importance of bike safety and includes a number of helpful how-to videos like how to load your bike onto a bus and how to choose the right type of bike for you.

* Architecture for Humanity, citing the World Bank statistic that educating all children worldwide will require the construction of 10 million new classrooms by 2015, is inviting teachers, students, architects and designers to work together to design the classroom of the future. The ideal design will provide smart, safe and sustainable learning spaces for children.

* Special Olympics International has just launched a new "End the R-Word" campaign to end the use of the word "retard." This campaign video features various teens talking about how the word is offensive and needs to go.

State Department Announces Online Townhall with Secretary Clinton

The State Department has announced an online townhall with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at the Summit of the Americas this weekend in Trinidad and Tobago. The Summit is held every four years or so, and brings together leaders from the Western Hemisphere to discuss key global issues - this year they've identified four: human prosperity, energy security, environmental sustainability, and poverty reduction. Secretary Clinton's online townhall will take place in the Dominican Republic, and citizens will be able to submit questions on a new hub that State created with one of YouTube's top DIY partners, Howcast.

State has posted videos explaining the townhall on their YouTube channel, like this one that explains just how people can participate:

There are also some videos explaining just what the Summit is and why it matters (see below). It will be interesting to see how this townhall plays out in comparison to the one the President held three weeks ago. Doing a townhall from the road begs the question of how foreign audiences might engage. And will State make this sort of event a regular feature of the Secretary's travel agenda? The results of the first online townhall will no doubt influence their opinion - head over to the Summit's hub and check it out.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

"Open for Questions" goes from Washington DC to Washington State

Taking a cue from the White House, Washington state's Senate Democrats are asking Washingtonians for their questions about their budget proposal. Check it out here.

And hear State Senator Lisa Brown tee off the dialogue in this video:

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Auditioning Against Same-Sex Marriage

With both Iowa and Vermont legalizing same-sex marriages this week, the topic is on the front page of the news right now. And the Human Rights Campaign, an advocacy group for GLBT right, is taking an interesting approach to fighting its enemies in the battle over same-sex marriage. Yesterday, the HRC posted a television advertisement created by The National Organization for Marriage to its official YouTube channel. The video features a collection of straight Americans talking about how same-sex marriages affect and damage the quality of their lives and threaten America.

The HRC has strategically allowed two video responses to be associated with the anti-gay marriage commercial: two audition tapes that show a series of different actors in front of a green screen reciting the lines that are used in the commercial. Some actors stumble over their lines, while others smile awkwardly, and most are somewhat unconvincing. At times you can hear the directors giving notes to the actors who are auditioning.

Seeing the juxtaposition of the real ad and the audition tapes is interesting and very much changes the effect of the commercial.

But be the judge for yourself.

Watch the commercial:

Watch Audition Part 1:

Win Your Share of the Bailout

In response to the Federal Government using taxpayer dollars to fund a multi-trillion dollar bailout package for Wall Street, an organization called is giving away FREE money. For your chance to win $27,599 (the amount of money paid for every American taxpayer), all you have to do is create a 30-second video that explains why you think the government's bailout plan is straight-up a bad idea. Oh, and the video has to be funny.

Take a look at the call-out video:

And watch one of the submissions:

For the full contest details, click here.

(P.S. Also worth a watch is's "Bailout Prize Patrol" video)

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

A Finish Line That Must Be Crossed

Today on the homepage, we're featuring a hot Oscar-nominated film set in the slums of India. No, not that one -- this film tells a real story. In honor of World Health Day, we're highlighting The Final Inch, an inspiring short documentary about a group of dedicated workers who are going door-to-door to give polio vaccines to children in the poorest areas of India:

Since polio no longer exists in the developed world, many assume that the crippling disease has been eradicated. Sadly, this isn't true. Polio is still a reality in the world’s poorest countries. Created by our friends at and Vermillion Films, this captivating 38-minute film brings to light the global challenge of polio eradication and tells the story of those who are on the front lines helping the most vulnerable -- children under five living in some of the world's most destitute regions.

We hope that the film will raise awareness about the existence of polio and encourage you to support the public health workers who are working so hard to bring an end to the disease. You can click here to learn more about polio eradication efforts or to contribute to the cause.

Ramya Raghavan
YouTube Nonprofits & Activism

Monday, April 6, 2009

The Queen Scolds Berlusconi

The Queen of England has been a YouTube celebrity for some time now, having launched The Royal Channel over a year ago. But she's making headlines recently not over a video she's posted, but of one posted of her -- scolding Italian Prime Minister Sergio Berlusconi for shouting, "Mister Obama!" loudly during a G20 photo op. Here's one of the versions making the rounds.

Come on, Mr. Berlusconi. In the age of YouTube, even Heads of State have to have good manners. Learn more in the Sydney Morning Herald.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Where Are the Wild Things? On YouTube.

The Wall Street Journal blog recently reported that in tough economic times, zoos and aquariums are turning to YouTube to introduce their animals and exhibits to new audiences. Some are getting incredible traction, like the Monterey Bay Aquarium, whose video about a fish with a transparent head has received over 1.7 million views and attention from National Geographic and Steven Colbert.

Also, as state and federal budgets are cut, other zoos and aquariums are using YouTube to launch advocacy campaigns to save their funding. The Bronx Zoo released two adorable PSAs featuring a porcupine whose "job" had been terminated. Here's one of them:

Says Luke Groskin who produced the Bronx Zoo videos, "
we’ve amassed roughly 70,000 letters, emails, petitions" and in a recent follow-up email, "it looks very likely that NY state is going to restore all of our funding! We credit this likely turn around in part to our public awareness campaign - particularly the placement it received in YouTube."

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Jason Mattera Making Trouble

The Young America's Foundation, an organization devoted to engaging young people in conservative ideas, has found itself a talented - and plucky - spokesperson in Jason Mattera. Jason's been going under cover to catch his liberal counterparts saying or doing things they'd probably rather not have on video.

A few weeks ago, he gained almost 100K video views for this clip in which he cornered Congressman Charlie Rangel on Capitol Hill, and got Rangel to drop a few unsavory words on camera after attacking him on ethics issues.

This week, Mattera (who works with Hotair's Michelle Malkin to distribute his footage more widely) attended an anti-war rally and posed as a liberal... then got activists to sign a petition against "greed":

Then, Mattera confronted some of the activists who were selling a socialist newspaper.

"Watching them try to explain away the irony of them engaging in capitalism to spread their socialist ideas is priceless," Mattera told Citizentube.

A View from the Press Corp

Associated Press reporter Jason Bronis posted a video to YouTube offering a behind-the-scenes look at what it's like to traveling with Obama as a member of the press corp. In this video, Bronis covers the President's arrival in London for this week's G-20 summit.