Monday, August 31, 2009

Catch Latest L.A. Fire Footage on YouTube

As fires continue to spread through the hills of Los Angeles and thousands are forced to evacuate the area, citizens are turning to YouTube to post footage of the blaze. For example, in this video, you can clearly see the flames over San Gabriel, while this one uses a time-lapse technique to show just how much smoke is being emitted into the air:

To support his footage, YouTube user cagwa writes in his video description: "Getting very hard to breathe already and it's going to be 104[F] today. The burning smell is extremely strong. Had to close all the windows at 7 a.m."

Other users are capturing the work of firefighters who are valiantly trying to put out the flames. This footage shows a Los Angeles Fire Department helicopter refilling in the Verdugo mountains while fighting the fire in La Canada:

More content is being uploaded every hour -- we'll compile it and keep you posted on our CitizenTube channel.

Ramya Raghavan, News & Politics, is currently watching "Fire in La Crescenta."

Battle of the YouTube animators: socialized medicine

You've got no shortage of options if you feel like watching YouTube videos on the healthcare debate these days. But if you're looking for a particularly comprehensive, well-argued, and novel approach to the debate, you might want to spend a few minutes watching these 2 clips. The first, from YouTube user engio, animates a well-argued narrative for "socialized medicine." The second clip, from YouTube user HowtheWorldWorks (you've got to love the confidence that name inspires) uses engio's animation as its backboard, and inserts new animation on top of it to counter each of his points.

The argument for socialized medicine:

The counter-argument against socialized medicine:

Biden asks YouTubers to help bust healthcare myths

In the ongoing online battle over healthcare reform, the White House put their "Reality Check" series into 2nd gear today with a video from the Vice President. Biden is asking YouTubers to submit videos as a response to the call-out below, advocating for healthcare reform and, "bust[ing] the myth that it is not important to the American People." The user-generated make-over of the Reality Check site on, which originally featured only videos from Administration officials, also offers a quiz through which citizens can learn, "what's in reform for you?"

Vote on the No. 1 Video Vaccine

A month ago, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Katherine Sebelius put out a call asking you to raise awareness about how citizens can steel themselves against the H1N1 (aka, "swine flu") virus. Today, the HHS announced the 10 best citizen-created PSAs -- and you get to vote on the winner.

Take a look at the finalists' videos on the HHS YouTube channel or spin through this playlist:

Have your say about which ad you think is most effective in increasing knowledge and prevention of H1N1. The winner will receive $2500 and have his/her PSA aired on live television. Voting ends at midnight on September 8.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Lindsay Lohan Burglary Caught on Tape

Celebrity Lindsay Lohan's house was robbed earlier this week. In hopes of gathering more information about the crime, the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPDONLINE1) posted this video, captured by a surveillance camera, of three hooded individuals loitering outside of Lohan's house. As of this posting, the video has over half a million views.

Canadians take to YouTube to defend "socialized medicine"

Posted by "Canadian Doctors for Medicare," this clip advocates for a single-payer healthcare system and defends the criticisms of "socialized medicine" coming from their neighbors to the south. Most memorable quote: "We take it as a sense of amusement and national pride that the Americans don't 'get it'," explains Dr. Steve Lewis a Candian health and policy researcher. "If they want to use our system as a whipping boy in their own propaganda wars, it's mildly irritating... we should hope for our American brothers and sisters that they get it right."

Thursday, August 27, 2009

A tribute from across the aisle

Proving that bi-partisan friendships do exist on Capitol Hill, Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) recently uploaded a few songs in honor of the late Senator Kennedy (D-MA). He penned this one for Senator Kennedy and his wife Vicki early in their marriage:

Senator Hatch describes this one as "a stirring tribute song to my good friend Senator Ted Kennedy":

In this video description, Hatch writes, "You don't have to agree with everyone's politics...none of us agree 100% of the time. But you have to admire a lifetime dedicated to public service and improving the lives of others -- and that is just one of the many things that made Ted great. I think this song captures a small part of Ted's legacy of service."

Fans clash at UK soccer game

Some of the most popular videos in the UK this week were of the confrontations that took place between supporters of London football (soccer) teams West Ham and Millwall at a cup game on Monday night.
Fans inside the stadium captured the action on their mobile phones. Take a look a this one, which shows West Ham fans clashing with police called in to calm the crowd.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Remembering Ted Kennedy on YouTube

Senator Ted Kennedy passed away last night at the age of 77 after battling a cancerous brain tumor for over a year. A priest who was at Kennedy's side when he died shared his reflections with WCVB-5, a local Boston news outlet in this video.
Ted Kennedy, the youngest of the four beloved Kennedy brothers - including John, Robert, and Joseph, leaves behind a giant legacy in the U.S. Senate, where he served for 46 years and helped to push many important bills through legislation, notably on issues around health care, education, and civil rights.
This morning, a flurry of videos have been uploaded to YouTube to commemorate the life of a man known fondly as "The Lion of the Senate." Here's a playlist featuring a selection:

From retrospectives and tributes to clips of his most memorable moments (like this showdown between him and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld on Iraq), the site has become a rich repository of footage for those that want to learn more about Kennedy's life and family and his contributions to American history.

Since Kennedy fell ill in May 2008, the senator spent much of his time in treatment. But in his rousing endorsement of Barack Obama for president earlier that year, he made clear his dedication to seeing Obama elected, and he continued to stump for the candidate as best he could. His memorable, and unscheduled speech at the 2008 Democratic National Convention moved many to tears and standing ovations.

Despite his great achievements, Kennedy's past was not without tragedy and blemish. He lived through the assassinations of two of his older brothers, President John F. Kennedy and Senator Robert Kennedy, and he himself almost died in a plane crash in 1964. This video from ABC News was taken of him in the hospital recovering after the accident.

In 1969, while serving as a United States Senator for the state of Massachusetts, he was responsible for the death of 28-year-old Mary Jo Kopechne. Kennedy crashed the car they were driving off of a bridge on the island of Chappaquiddick and did not report the accident until after Kopechne's body was found the next morning. He pleaded guilty to leaving the scene and went on national television to appeal to the people of Massachusetts and ask for their guidance in this speech.

The Chappquiddick incident posed a challenge for Kennedy when he decided to run, unsuccessfully, for President in 1980. However, he went on to become the "patriarch" of the Senate, with many friends on both sides of the aisle.

This is one of the last interviews Ted Kennedy gave before his death:

And be sure to check out The Boston Globe's fantastic series on the late Senator and Massachusetts-native, which covers each chapter of his life.

Promoting tolerance from every angle

Starting today, young people across Germany are invited to take part in a special film contest designed to fight discrimination and promote racial tolerance in Germany. YouTube, in partnership with the the Laut gegen Nazis ("Racism Can Hit Anyone") campaign, and the Amadeu Antonio Foundation, is launching "361 Grad Toleranz" ("361-degree tolerance"), a video competition open to German 13 to 18-year-olds.
Students have between now and October 16 to create short videos about the importance of treating others with tolerance and respect. Each submission should reflect on what it means to be open-minded in today's world and communicate the dangers of racism in original and creative ways.
The grand prize recipient will receive a special visit from the German rock band Silbermond, who will perform a private concert at his or her own school. Additionally, the winning student will get a "class trip" to Berlin and Toshiba camcorders for his or her classmates.
A long list of German celebrities, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, are publicly demonstrating their support for this program. The star-studded cast of this video illustrates the unified resolve within German society to actively fight any and all types of discrimination.

To learn more and submit your video, visit the 361 Grad Toleranz YouTube channel here: and watch Chancellor Merkel's call-out video:

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

What's Happening in Afghanistan? Ask the Chairman.

Today, the Hill reports that the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen, has launched a YouTube channel to create a dialogue with members of the military and the public. Mullen is the first chairman of the Joint Chiefs to create a YouTube channel, providing an unprecedented public view into Pentagon affairs.

Last week, the office of the Joint Staff uploaded this YouTube video, which asks citizens to join a virtual townhall and submit their questions for Admiral Mullen:

The deadline for submitting your question is August 31st at midnight. Mullen will answer a selection of questions through another YouTube video on September 1.

Smarter searching in All for Good

[Cross-posted on Google Public Sector Blog. YouTube's Video Volunteers platform uses the All for Good gadget to connect nonprofit organizations with skilled video-makers.]

One of the top concerns we've been hearing from nonprofit organizations who list volunteer opportunities on All for Good is that their opportunities aren't updated on the site as frequently as they need. This happens because All for Good doesn't directly receive volunteer opportunities from nonprofits - we crawl feeds from partners like VolunteerMatch and Idealist just like Google web search crawls web pages. Crawlers don't immediately update, they take time to find new information.

Today, we're rolling out improvements to All for Good that will help solve this problem and improve search quality for users. The biggest change, which you won't see directly, is that our search engine is now powered by SOLR, an incredible open source project that will allow us to provide higher quality and more up-to-date opportunities. Nonprofits should start seeing their opportunities indexed faster, and users should see more relevant and complete results.

We're also making searching easier by launching categories. When you go to All for Good, you now have the option to search by categories of listings in addition to keywords, making it easier to find opportunities you're interested in. Categorization is just the first of several features we'll be adding in the coming months to help you find interesting ways to give back to your community.

We hope you'll try out All for Good and participate in a service activity this summer. If you're interested in helping others do good, you can get involved in All for Good by contributing to our source code, developing an application with our API, or embedding the All for Good gadget on your web site or blog.

Join Jude Law and Speak Your Peace on September 21

Last year, in honor of Peace Day - a United Nations-sanctioned day of global nonviolence and ceasefire held on September 21 - a nonprofit called Peace One Day helped persuade Taliban forces to lay down their arms for the day, making it possible for 1.6 million Afghani children to be immunized against polio.

This year, to commemorate the 10th Anniversary of the effort to make peace a reality, YouTube is partnering with Peace One Day and actor Jude Law to spread the message of Peace Day to an even wider audience through the "My Take on Peace" contest. All you have to do to participate is upload a video to telling the world what you'll do to create peace on September 21. The winner will receive a new HD camera and participate in a workshop with award-winning filmmaker Jeremy Gilley. Find out more about the program from Jude Law, here:

You have already stood up for peace in a variety of different ways: by
performing songs that entertain and inspire us, by making us laugh while making us think, and by creating homemade films that have mobilized thousands of others. Your actions don't need to be revolutionary, just heartfelt and creative.

The deadline to submit your video is September 30, but entries submitted before September 21 will have the opportunity to be showcased on YouTube and in
the annual Peace One Day Music Concert, which, last year, was viewed by a television audience of more than 250 million people.

Upload your video now to and show us how you're promoting peace and changing lives.

Posted by Ramya Raghavan, YouTube Nonprofits & Activism, recently watched "Boyfriend Story - Pressure Pic Problem."

Intern catches teacher roughing up autistic student on video

An intern at a public school in Pittsburgh used her cell phone camera to capture a teacher roughing up an autistic student back in March 2008, and the clip has been posted to YouTube. The 11-year-old's parents sued the school a year ago, and the teacher was removed when the video evidence surfaced. The family's lawyer says he isn't certain who published the clip to YouTube, but it certainly isn't hurting the family's case.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Washington Post asks readers to help them dig through CIA Interrogation reports

The Washington Post is calling all citizen reporters to help them wade through the recently-released CIA inspector general's report on the highly-classified government interrogation program. In this blog post on the Washington Post Investigations web portal, editor Liz Heron writes:

"In the coming hours, Washington Post reporters will be combing through the document for new revelations. Join us in digging through the report to help identify the most significant new details and anything that deserves further investigation, and tell us what you've found in the comments section below."
The document is 234 pages long, so you can see why the Post editors wouldn't mind a few extra hands to get through the report as quickly as possible.

Raw Video: Hurricane Bill swimmer saved by coast guard

Some video news stories need no commentary - that's why you've got to love the AP's Raw Video series, one of the more interesting on YouTube. Their latest came from an "amateur video" they obtained of a swimmer who was riding the waves caused by Hurricane Bill in Maine this weekend, necessitating a dramatic Coast Guard rescue:

Sunday, August 23, 2009

UK PSA on the dangers of texting while driving

News networks have been buzzing about this graphic public service announcement -- currently being shown in the UK -- about the dangers of texting while driving. Aimed at teen drivers, this disturbing and graphic video shows what happens when a young girl loses her focus behind the wheel while text messaging a friend and a multi-car crash ensues.

News anchors have been playing the video on air, asking viewers to chime in on whether a PSA of this nature should be broadcast widely on national TV in the U.S. What do you think?

Warning - this PSA may be difficult to watch.

Congress Responds as Health Care Heats Up on YouTube

Congress may be in recess, but that doesn't mean its members are taking a vacation. For the past few weeks, elected officials from both sides of the aisle have been fanning out across the country to speak to their constituents about the issue on everyone's minds: health care. In turn, citizens are more engaged than ever before and are using YouTube to voice their discontent or approval of the White House's proposed plan for reform.

Some are opting to sound off about the issue in the privacy of their homes, but many more are participating in public protests and rallies to spread their message, then uploading this footage to YouTube. For example, this footage of a town hall with Congressman Barney Frank (D-MA), uploaded this week, has received a remarkable amount of attention.

In the wake of these protests, some members of Congress have chosen to take their townhalls online, using YouTube as a direct line to their constituents. In this video, posted yesterday, Rep. Steve Israel (D-NY) answers questions from members of his district about health care. Israel isn't the only one: Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Senator Chris Dodd (D-CT), and President Obama have all used YouTube to find the citizen pulse on the issue.

And on Wednesday, we asked you to submit your questions to Congressman Bob Latta (R-OH) using Google Moderator. Not surprisingly, the majority of questions you asked were centered around health care. Congressman Latta responds to the top-rated questions, including those about the public option and the state of Medicare, in this interview:

Want to engage with your Representative on YouTube? Find them by visiting the YouTube House Hub or Senate Hub.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Puppy theft caught on tape

Greenpeace - "Gotcha!"

This clip from the BBC's popular Hard Talk program shows outgoing Greenpeace leader Gerd Leipold trying to defend his position that the Greenland ice sheet will melt by 2030. When pushed by host Stephen Sackur on the veracity of the statement, Leipold back-peddles and explains that Greenpeace "emotionalizes" issues and concedes that the organization may have exaggerated in this case. Posted by "Not Evil Just Wrong", a group dedicated to pointing out Climate Change exaggerations, the clip is a fantastic watch (learn more about the conflict here):

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Our Top 10 picks for SXSW Interactive panels: Vote now!

South by Southwest received over 2200 panel proposals for next year's Interactive Festival in Austin, and many of them look pretty amazing. One of the neat things about SXSW is that community voting plays a large role in whether a panel is actually presented at the conference -- using the SXSW "Panelpicker" interface, citizens can vote "yes" or "no" on whether they'd like to see a particular panel.

Though it's a crowded field, we've thrown our hat into the ring with a panel called, "Digital Protests: Social Media as Activism," and we'd appreciate it if you'd vote it up and share it with others (we think it's a pretty fascinating topic given recent events). Here's a brief description:

This session will explore the role that social media plays in protests, through the lens of recent events like Iran and the American health care debate. The panel will cover the various tools (YouTube, Twitter, Facebook) that are being used to elevate protests, examine the benefits and drawbacks of the internet's involvement and whether social media makes protests more or less efficient, and discuss the issue of authenticity in information dissemination.

But our panel isn't the only one we're excited for. Here's a list of other panels that are making us wish we were already in Austin:

Next Generation Politics: Where Will We Go Next?: In 2000, candidates used e-mail and websites to transmit their messages online. 2004 introduced political blogs and in 2008, social media played a major role in the election. As the 2010 election approaches and we look to 2012, what's next? A panel of national experts will predict.

Crowd Sourcing Innovative Social Change: Social media builds buzz and raises money, but what about real, on-the-ground change? The Social Change Challenge will crowdsource innovative ideas from nonprofits to change the world.

Your Friends: The Newest Breaking News Channel: When Michael Jackson died, where were you?...on the web, that is. Social media tools are playing an incredibly powerful role in uniting people around the world in awareness, conversation and action around breaking news and global current events.

Service 2.0: Evaluating Next-Gen Volunteer Opportunity Platforms: Forget about the high school community service club. The next generation of volunteering platforms is here -- from Google's All for Good to the President's But can they also combat apathy? We'll speak with experts about recent efforts to revolutionize the service space and see what gaps remain.

UX Fortune-Telling Case Study: The Future of YouTube: YouTube's early and rapid success as well as its agile development process has made it complicated to look further into the future to see the potential paths for evolving the user experience and visual design of the site. Margaret Stewart will share a case study of how she and her team facilitated a company-wide collaborative exploration of YouTube's future, and the impact this work had on short term efforts and long term planning.

CrowdControl: Changing the Face of Media or Hype?: A discussion about the new media democracy, citizen journalism and the wisdom of the crowd. We already live in an interactive society but this global proliferation and escalation exemplifies the value of the wisdom of the crowds. The panel will discuss core tenets of this theory and how it is affecting current and future digital media business models.

Blogger's Second Decade: Is Blogging Still Relevant?: Blogger turned 10 in August, 2009. Is blogging (and Blogger) still relevant in an age of Twitter, Friendfeed and Facebook? This talk will discuss the history of blogging and look at its future, and share creative examples of how blogging will remain relevant for the next 10 years.

Online Video Killed the Publishing Star: This next generation is using online video as their first stop for news, information, and even scholarly research. In this group, print media is deader than MTV. How can print-based publishers compete in this visual era? Should they compete, or is there still an audience that wants to read news?

Evolution of Online Video: The state of online video has changed dramatically since the first video went online in the early 90s. This panel assembles a group of industry leaders to speak about the evolution of online video since its inception until now and weigh in on emerging trends for the future of online video.

Voting closes on September 4 so get your votes in before then!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Mashable picks its Top 10 social change YouTube videos...but wait, there's more!

Today, Mashable released a list of its top 10 YouTube videos that promote social good. Among others, they include the Vlogbrothers' awesome launch video for the YouTube Video Volunteers program, the charity:water video that raised over $10,000 using YouTube's "Call-to-Action" feature, and the adorable PSA that helped restore funding to the Bronx Zoo.

Still want more? You may want to take a look at these other social change gems:

Information about the Universal Declaration of Human Rights set to a fierce beat.

This Psycho spoof from Good Magazine shows that life without clean water is a very scary prospect.

This video, which has received 2 million views, introduces viewers to the macropinna microstoma, a deep-sea fish with a transparent head and tubular eyes.

Shawn Ahmed aka UnCultured Project provides aid to the children of Bangladesh through his riveting YouTube channel.

To find a monthly list of the best social change videos on YouTube, check out the AgentChange channel.

Couldn't Make It to a Town Hall? It's Coming to You

Over the past few weeks, we've seen citizens using YouTube to make their voices heard about health care and to amplify their interactions with members of Congress. In light of this trend, we're reviving our Representative of the Week program -- but with a slightly different twist.

The latest Rep of the Week is Congressman Bob Latta (R-OH), a co-chair of the GOP New Media caucus who's used his YouTube channel to speak out against the White House's health care proposal. But instead of the Congressman posing a question to you and asking you to respond, as per past Reps of the Week, he wants you to ask him questions about the issues that are important to you. Congressman Latta plans to respond to the top-rated questions in an in-person interview tomorrow:

You only have 24 hours to submit your question about any issue through Google Moderator and to vote on your favorite questions from others, so get started here. Then, check back tomorrow to see how Congressman Latta responds.

The New York Times reminds us why print matters

The New York Times posted an interesting video to their YouTube channel this morning. It's more or less a promotional piece for the Times, but one can easily imagine this being the topic of study for journalism students in generations to come. The video is called "The Advantages of Using A Print Newspaper," and it features interviews with several journalism professors who talk about the importance of the print version of the newspaper -- why it's still important, how it differs from and compliments the online version, and what role it plays in today's media environment.

Some of the reasons cited why print newspapers still provide value include:
  • print newspapers allow for a better understanding the relationship between stories
  • print newspapers give readers a good overview of the top news of the day
  • print newspapers enable readers to discover topics they wouldn't otherwise come across
Watch the video here:

The Times, which has a terrific YouTube channel, has been one of the most innovative newspapers when it comes to digital strategy - winning awards annually for their cutting-edge website and online media tools - so it's notable that they're making the effort to remind people of their roots.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Suburban Boston police department starts YouTube show to catch crooks

In early July, we reported that the Hennipen County Sheriff's office in Minnesota was posting clips of "Hennepin County's Most Wanted" onto YouTube, in an effort to get the names and faces of the area's top criminals broadcast far and wide. The suburban Boston police department of Billerica, MA, has took a page out of that playbook with their made-for-YouTube program on unsolved homicides.

Hosted by a local volunteer named Cosmo Cavicchio and starring Detective Bill West, the most recent episode looks for new information surrounding a still-unsolved 2003 homicide of Santo Milicio Mejia, a Dominican immigrant who was found dead near commuter rail tracks in Billerica, MA, in what police suspect was a drug-related murder.

Detective West told the Boston Globe that [YouTube], "will give us the ability to reach many more viewers and witnesses. We urge people to come forward to help us give closure to this [victim's] family."

Cosmo and team have posted more episodes Billerica Police Department's YouTube channel, including one on burglaries, sex offenders, and drug busts.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Video for Change Finalist Finds Local Fame

Emote 360, one of the finalists in YouTube and the Enough Project's "Come Clean 4 Congo" contest, were recently profiled by the local news station in Bend, OR about their efforts to raise awareness about conflict minerals through video.

Whether you're interested in the issue, or in the anatomy of a successful YouTube contest entry, it's worth a watch.

And if you're interested, you can click here to view and vote on all of the finalist videos.

Friday, August 14, 2009

The McCaskill Town Hall Incident: told from every angle

User BluePearOnline, also known as Peter Glickert, posted this video to YouTube yesterday, entitled: "Full Story of Poster Altercation at McCaskill Event: by Peter Glickert." In this video, Glickert reconstructs what happened at a town hall meeting held by Senator Claire McCaskill in Hillsboro, Missouri by piecing together different sources of footage all taken at the event from different angles.

Here's a summary, though we strongly encourage you to watch the video, in which Glickert gives an account of each scene in the story.

CNN and other television news outlets reported that a black woman in the audience at a town hall was being escorted against her will while Senator McCaskill is talking. The woman is physically resisting against the policemen, and the crowd cheers as Senator McCaskill stops the meeting to interject while the police force the distraught woman to leave. Glickert follows this clip with a piece of footage captured by another citizen attending the town hall, who caught the entire thing from a different angle. This piece includes what happened before the woman was approached by the police. Here you can clearly see that the woman was provoked by a man who stole her poster, but the mainstream media outlets that covered the incident didn't capture or report on this part of the exchange.

Glickert continues his narrative with footage taken by others present, who documented conversations held afterwards between police officers and citizens in attendance, as well as an angry exchange between the woman who was kicked out and other town hall attendees outside of the venue.

All in all, it's a fascinating work of citizen reporting that illustrates the power of a crowd to tell a story in full.

Raw footage: plane and helicopter collide over the Hudson

Eyewitness footage has turned up documenting the point of impact when a small passenger plane and a helicopter crashed into each other over the Hudson River last week.

11-year-old interviews President Obama

11-year-old Damon Weaver has been making a name for himself as a budding student reporter since last year when he started doing television reports for his elementary school TV news program - Canal Point Elementary / KEC TV. Though Weaver has impressively managed to interview big names like Oprah Winfrey, Caroline Kennedy, Samuel L. Jackson, and even Vice President Joe Biden (among others) - his real goal was to land the biggest interview of all - Barack Obama. Weaver started an online campaign to rally support for his cause, asking people to help him convince President Obama to give him an interview. Miami Heat star Dwayne Wade even offered to play Obama in a game of one-on-one if he would agree to be interviewed by the determined 11-year-old.

Months of persistent effort later, all the hard work paid off, and Weaver finally had the opportunity to interview the President in the White House. Donning a suit as sharp as Obama's, Weaver asked Obama some tough questions about education, and how he handles being bullied all the time.

Watch the full interview here:

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Laura Ling and Euna Lee thank supporters online

Current TV has been covering the return of their two journalists, Laura Ling and Euna Lee, ever since their remarkable and high-profile trip back to the U.S. last week with the aid of President Clinton. A series of videos covering the pair's return are posted to Current's YouTube channel, and Laura and Euna just posted this thank you to their supporters.

More health care protest footage, citizen debates on YouTube

YouTube remains a central hub of the health care debate as townhall events and protests about the issue continue across the country.

In the past few days, homemade signs at the townhalls have sparked quite a bit of controversy. One protester was thrown out of a Cleveland Heights, OH townhall and questioned by police for waving a poster that likened President Obama to Hitler. A scuffle also erupted at a Missouri event when someone ripped up a poster of Rosa Parks. This video of the event has received over 100,000 views:

In addition, the number of vlogs about health care has risen dramatically as citizens feel the need to respond to the townhall footage that is being uploaded. For example, a doctor sounds off about why the American health care system is the best in the world and shouldn't be changed:

Meanwhile, this young man expresses his pro-reform views by discussing the benefits of the Canadian health care system:

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Conflict in Congo: Secretary Clinton and YouTube Community Respond

Today, the New York Times reports, Secretary of State Clinton is in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, visiting women affected by the sexual violence that results from the war over minerals in the region. NTVKenya provides a brief synopsis of her trip here:

The war in the Congo over minerals is an issue that is still relatively underexposed in the United States - that's why we partnered with the Enough Project on our first Video for Change program, the "Come Clean 4 Congo" contest, to bring this important issue to light. While the submission period is over, you can still learn more about the issue from our three semi-finalists, whose work will be showcased at the Hollywood Film Festival's Human Rights Symposium:

Will China pull us out of this Economic Crisis?

After programs in Switzerland, Africa, and East Asia, the Davos Debates - YouTube's partnership with the World Economic Forum - has now landed in China. The question that the WEF wants your feedback on is, "Will China pull us out of this Economic Crisis?" You can answer that question, or submit your video response, on the Davos Debates YouTube channel.

The videos will be posed to industry and government leaders gathered at the WEF's meeting in Dalian, China on September 10-12. WEF will also have a booth set up where attendees can upload video responses to the posts made by YouTubers.

The whole effort is part of WEF's initiative to make the World Economic Forum more open and transparent. This is the first year they've taken the show on the road to several of WEF's meetings, outside of the annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland every January.

The WEF meeting in China, dubbed the "Summer Davos", is focused on bringing new leaders together to discuss world economic growth. Learn more about the Davos Debates in China in this video:

Monday, August 10, 2009

Typhoon Morakot, documented on YouTube

Typhoon Morakot slammed into the coast of Taiwain and other parts of China over the weekend, leading to massive flooding, significant structural damage, and over a dozen dead - with hundreds more injured. The strong storm had already wreaked havoc on the Philippines - where 21 people have died - and is just part of a series of deadly natural disasters that have pummeled China, Japan, the Philippines and Taiwan over the past few days.

Individuals weathering Morakot from up close have been documenting what's happening outside of their windows and posting videos to YouTube.

Here's a playlist of some of the footage coming in:

Brave New Films launches new YouTube show: Senator Sanders, UNFILTERED

If you've watched any political video on YouTube in the past few years, then you know about Brave New Films - Robert Greenwald's progressive production company that has produced several YouTube chart-toppers in the political space. Their team's latest is a new show featuring Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, who will - according to the trailer - give you the inside story of what's happening on Capitol Hill (he'll also take your questions). Here's a look:

Greenwald's team's expertise in leveraging YouTube to deliver video messages is impressive - they even created this case study for others to learn from - definitely worth checking out:

The White House Launches Health Care "Reality Check" on YouTube

Last week, Linda Douglass of the White House Office of Health Reform created a video with the goal of setting the facts straight about whether citizens would get to keep their own insurance under Obama's health care plan. That video has already received over 200,000 views.

Today, the White House released a whole series of videos aimed at combating false information about Obama's plan. The videos cover everything from veterans' health care to how reform will affect small businesses.

For more information, visit

Illegal duck hunters sink themselves on YouTube

[UPDATE: The three men plead guilty to the charges yesterday, and a the judge called their actions "stupid, reckless and irresponsible." They received $5,000 and $6,000 fines, and their rifles were seized.]

Three duck hunters who were picking off ducklings with their rifles from a truck parked on the side of a lake were caught when they posted a clip of their activities to YouTube - local authorities determined their identity, and the location of the lake, from the video. See the clip below, and read more here. Warning: don't watch the video if you don't feel like watching ducks get shot by a rifle.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Health Care Protests Heat Up on YouTube

In 1994, "Harry and Louise" two television ads paid for by the Coalition for Health Care Choices, helped to squash President Clinton's plans for health care reform. Now, as President Obama and other Democrats fan out across the country to tout their health care plan, citizens from Raleigh to New Hampshire are using YouTube to voice their discontent or approval of the plan. Some are opting to sound off about the issue in the privacy of their home, but many more are engaging in public protests and rallies to spread their message, then uploading this footage to YouTube.

For example, in the last day, over sixty videos have been uploaded from a health care townhall in Tampa, Florida, where tensions ran high and fighting broke out among protestors at the event:

At the same time, protesters jeered Congressman John Dingell at a townhall forum in Romulus, Michigan.

On the flip side of the issue, in DC, hundreds of SEIU supporters gathered for a health care reform vigil, and young people rallied for the public option:

Even those who are not uploading videos are still engaging in spirited debate on YouTube about the videos that are being posted by others. This video from a townhall in Texas has elicited over 530,000 views and over 7,000 comments. We're guessing this is just the tip of the iceberg, so keep checking Citizentube for more coverage of the health care debate as it unfolds on YouTube.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Fighting for Net Neutrality

The battle over net neutrality is heating up in Congress. The Internet Freedom Preservation Act of 2009 was just introduced, and now the Coalition is trying to drum up support to help push the legislation through. They've posted this video on the videofreepress YouTube channel, which explains what net neutrality is, impresses upon the importance of internet freedom (and what would happen if we lost it), and tells viewers how they can take action. The video cleverly borrows from the popular music mash-up "Thru You" created by YouTube user Kutiman to illustrate the "spirit of collaboration, creativity and innovation that the open Internet is all about."

Take a look: