Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Ready Set Revolution

Brett Soloman is Executive Director of an organization called Access (www.accessnow.org), which emerged after the disputed presidential elections in Iran in June 2009. Access and its members all around the world have played a critical role in collecting, curating and amplifying much of the video footage coming out of Iran over the past six months - despite the Iranian government's attempts to censor it. In the new information economy, in which over 20 hours of video content is uploaded to YouTube every minute, curation serves an increasingly important function, especially in the world of news and current events.

CitizenTube invited Brett to write a guest post about how his organization operates and what it takes for videos to travel from mobile phones in the streets of Tehran to individual computer screens around the world.

- CitizenTube


Ready Set Revolution
By Brett Soloman

Regardless of how much the Iranian regime attempts to destroy the opposition on the streets, they can’t stop the flood of videos pouring out of Iran. We are working 24/7 to keep the floodgates open – and at this stage, it’s relentless.

Images of street protests, injured protesters and secret police swapping sides are on TVs, mobile phones and computer screens across the globe. This week’s images are a testament not only to the resilience of the Green movement (Iran’s democracy movement), but to the real power of video to propagate dissent at home.

It allows us in Iran and outside to see whether the protest movement is alive, where it is active and how the regime is responding. Our commitment to justice is recorded as plainly as their brutality.

Our organization, accessnow.org, works to safeguard protest videos seen below through from censorship and other forms of internet traffic engineering by the Iranian authorities. Here are a few that have been posted by one of our team Onlymehdi on his youtube channel. It was the 4th most viewed channel in the world after the protests on Sunday:

Right now our team is staying up in shifts to source and aggregate content. We receive videos from various trusted contacts in Iran – from activists, fired journalists, people on the streets. For some it is a risk to get online and send such files. Emails accompanying the videos tell of the urgency to have these images broadcast. We verify them, check their location, their dates of recording, and if there are any security risks with posting.

Releasing an important video to the world is like being a human rights defender and broadcaster all in one. Watch this video with caution:

Other videos we find, tagged Iran or Green Movement, which are vital for the world to see, but are hidden amongst videos of Britney Spears and Kanye West. This process is laborious but important. For example, releasing this video below, showing the brutality of the regime in callously running over an innocent citizen, would have happened without record or response without youtube:

Our job is also to propagate. The videos are uploaded to social media sites including Facebook and key Iranian sites like balatarin.com and Rahesabz.net. Most of the people watching our posted videos come from inside Iran – they are a lifeline to a community where all traditional sources of independent news are shut down. We also convert video to 3GP format as well. This allows videos to be watched on mobile phones and shared via blue tooth inside Iran.

Exclusive videos we have received and posted have headed up world bulletins on CNN, BBC and the New York Times. These videos are helping to change world policy. Obama’s condemnation of "the violent and unjust suppression of innocent Iranian citizens" has been cemented by the undeniable images. Finally the world’s governments are starting to pile in.

Because of the nature of these videos, and because of censorship and other forms of internet traffic engineering conducted by Iranian government, this process is extremely sensitive.

The battle is on the streets, but in a self perpetuating cycle, the videos not only report what took place but form the foundation for each next round in the fight for justice.

Brett Soloman
Executive Director

The videos from Iran continue to roll in...

A few more notable videos have been uploaded today from Sunday's Ashura protests in Iran.

This video shows just how massive the turnout was - people crowd the streets as far as the eye can see:

Protesters allegedly capture anti-riot police in this video:

Several very badly wounded protesters can be seen in the streets here, with onlookers trying to help and screams ringing out in the background:

In this video, captured by someone in a building above the street, you can see Basiji officers wielding batons and reaching into a car window to grab the driver:

Two videos capturing police brutality in Iran

These two videos have just been brought to our attention - uploaded earlier today, though they appear to have been taken on December 27 during the massive Ashura protests. Both depict police forces in Iran violently lashing out against crowds of protestors. In the first video, a large group of people marching in demonstration through the streets scatter as police open fire on the crowd. The camera loses its focus as people begin screaming in panic and run for safety.

The second shows a police vehicle trying to run over citizens who are attempting to get out the way. Toward the end of the clip, a body can clearly be seen lying on the ground after having been hit by the car.

Warning that both of these videos are very disturbing.

Ordinary citizens, extraordinary videos

The images are grainy, often jerky and hard to follow (like most footage shot using hand-held cameras and cellphones), but the message is unmistakable: in the months since the disputed Iranian presidential election in June, the people of Iran have become fluent in the new language of citizen video reporting. What might have seemed an isolated moment immediately following the election, when we watched videos of Iranians marching, battling and even dying on the streets of Tehran, appears to have become an essential part of their struggle.

At YouTube, we have been watching week after week as new videos have appeared on the site within hours of every single protest or similar event reported from Iran in the past six months. Thousands of uploads have brought the fear and tension of these protests to YouTube, inviting millions of views around the world. It is as if the revolts that are taking place could not do so outside the eye of the camera.

Unlike traditional news footage from foreign correspondents (currently prohibited in Iran), these videos are the voice of the people — unfiltered, unedited and with a single, sometimes disturbing point of view. No professional film could capture the one-to-one feeling of watching an ordinary citizen's images of unrest in his or her own country.

We are constantly amazed by the videos our community uploads, whether from their own backyards or the streets of a faraway land. Armed with only a camera and a means to reach the Internet, anyone can ask another to bear witness to their lives. Given the nature of the YouTube videos from Iran, we may want to turn away from some of the images we see, but we keep watching, knowing that we are seeing through the eyes of a people who have discovered the power of information — despite the often extreme measures their government is using to try to stop them.

We will continue to provide the platform for you to see what they see, hear their voices and learn about their struggles. And we encourage you to join the global conversation. Leave a comment, upload your own response video or share a moving moment with someone else.

Olivia Ma, YouTube News & Politics, recently watched "29 Dec 09 Tehran Science & Technology university students protest against the government of Iran"

New videos of December 29 Elm Va sanat Protest

From the looks of the newest videos being uploaded to YouTube with the tag "Iran", there have been more protests at the Science and Technology University in Tehran. Many of these videos are being labeled the "Elm Va sanat Protest"

Here's a playlist:

Monday, December 28, 2009

Graphic footage of injured protesters in Iran - discretion advised

A new stream of videos has been uploaded to YouTube that show protesters that have been badly injured or killed. This footage is quite graphic. We're embedding them here, as they have important educational and documentary value, but caution users before viewing them as the images within may be very disturbing.

Clashes captured between protesters and the Basij police forces

A few new videos from Iran have been posted that merit highlighting. From these three videos, and others included in the playlist, it seems as though the protestors have been forcefully resisting the police crackdown.

This footage gives a true panoramic view of one intersection in Tehran situated under the Kalej Bridge. The sense of pandemonium in the streets is palpable as the cameraman documents the scene around him - several wounded protestors are being ushered to safety in the first 30 seconds, police forces are being confronted by the crowds, women are screaming, car horns are honking, and the entire area appears to be filled with people.

This video shows protestors cornering several Basij police officers and allegedly forcing them to say "Khamenei is a Bastard!"

This video shows protestors capturing a member of the Basij and roughing him up against a car.

Protest videos from Iran highlighted on the YouTube homepage

The footage from Iran continues to pour in every hour. We're currently highlighting a selection of videos on the YouTube homepage, and continue to add videos to this playlist on CitizenTube.

A few new notable videos:

In this one, you can see protesters (including a woman raising her arms in the center of the frame) creating a barrier in the middle of the street:

Protesters overturn a police van in this video:

In this one, you can see citizens and the Basij police forces facing off on either side of a city street. The camera-holder is standing more or less on the front lines as fellow protestors lob stones at the police.

In this video, those demonstrating are supposedly chanting: "You are Neda" - paying homage to the young woman, Neda Soltan, whose violent death during the post-election protests in June was captured on camera and became a rallying event for the pro-reform movement.

And in this graphic video, a badly wounded protestor can be seen lying on the ground after having been shot. Viewer discretion is advised before viewing it.

More videos from the Ashura protests in Iran

The videos from Sunday's Ashoura protest in Tehran continue to pour into YouTube. Several users are collecting footage from the protests and aggregating videos on their own channels, such as UNITY4IRAN and OnlyMehdi.

Here's a selection of videos we've received:

We've been told by members of the group Access Now that in this video, demonstrators during the Ashura protest are "attempting to help a bloodied police officer who has been injured and disarmed. Later, in the video, a member of the security forces is captured by his own, and demonstrators yell for his release in the principle of non-violence."

In this video, protesters are taking over a police station in Tehran. Injured protesters can clearly be seen on the streets.

In this video, demonstrators are stepping on a street sign with Ayatollah Khamenei's name on it, the most powerful religious leader in Iran.

In this video, a protester allegedly dies in the streets of Tehran after violent clashes with the police. Viewer discretion is strongly advised.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Violent clashes between protesters and police in Tehran, Sunday

Today in Tehran, pro-reform activists and police security forces have clashed yet again in a new round of protests. According to reports, more than 300 protesters have been arrested and several have been killed.

Users have been uploading videos to YouTube documenting what's happening the streets.

Here's a playlist with a selection of the videos that have been uploaded today. We'll continue to update this list.

Shining a Light on Human Rights Abuses Through Film

From the Iran protests to the uprising of monks in Burma, YouTube has become a place where citizens can expose human rights violations and promote free expression. This month, we were excited to see many of you help the organizations that regularly combat injustice and abuse around the world, by creating a video for one of them through Video Volunteers.

Spurred by Morgan Freeman's heartfelt call-out video and International Human Rights Day, which occurred earlier this month, you submitted videos on behalf of nonprofits working on issues like conflict minerals, the situation in Darfur and sex trafficking:

Today, the top three selections will appear on the YouTube homepage to raise awareness of several pressing human rights issues. We're also featuring Morgan Freeman's "volunteer" video for Amnesty International, which uses claymation to discuss the power of words in fighting injustice:

We'll be back with another round of Video Volunteers in January and our spotlight issue will be the arts, so if you're an arts organization who would like a volunteer to create a video for you, please fill out this form and your opportunity will be posted to the Video Volunteers channel.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The Hermit's Top 10 News Stories of the Decade

Davis Fleetwood, aka "The Hermit", has done an end-of-the-decade video series outlining the Top 10 news stories of the last ten years. Do you agree with his choices?

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Iranians chanting in support of the green movement

Thanks to our friends over at Access Now, we've discovered this video, which was taken during the protests that erupted at the funeral of a dissident Iranian cleric, Ayatollah Montazeri.

Hundreds of thousands of Iranians gathered, and this video depicts the crowd from above. The pro-reform protesters are chanting in favor of the green movement, shouting "Ya Hossein Mir Hossein"!

onlymehdi, the user who posted this video, was the seventh most viewed channel on all of YouTube yesterday. onlymehdi aggregates videos from Iran on a single channel and has been doing this since June, when the contested presidential elections were held and the pro-reform "green" movement picked up steam.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Counting down a year of social change on YouTube

The year 2009 was a terrific year for social change on YouTube thanks to the videos you created, which featured everything from unemployed porcupines to hospital workers shimmying in pink gloves. Some videos urged the community to donate through call-to-action overlays (upwards of $30,000 in one day!) while others "scared" citizens into doing good. It was a hard selection process, but here are the videos that surprised, moved, and inspired us most this year:

Funeral for Ayatollah Montazeri turns into massive pro-reform protest in Iran

Grand Ayatollah Hossein-Ali Montazeri, one of Iran's respected religious clerics, died last Sunday at the age of 87. His funeral, which was held today in the city of Qom, turned into a massive protest against the government and questioned the authority of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran's supreme leader. Ayatollah Montazeri had openly criticized Khamenei in recent months, and the crowds that turned out today to bid him farewell have used Montazeri's memorial as an opportunity to voice their grievances with the current leadership.

These protests have been captured on video and uploaded to YouTube, as now seems to be the reliable pattern whenever there are demonstrations in Iran.

This video was allegedly taken inside Ayatollah Montazeri's home and shows his body being displayed inside of an open casket:

The two opposition candidates who ran against President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in the June 2009 Presidential election -- Mir-Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi -- attended the rally, further exciting the crowd.

Here's a playlist of some of the footage that's come in today:

Caught on tape: DC cop waves gun at snowball fight

With a historic blizzard dumping on DC, tensions are running high. At least for this plainclothes police officer, who was caught on tape pulling his gun out after his car was pelted by a snowball from a rowdy crowd. Video shot by Reason.tv. Things get even more tense after he puts the gun away... warning - lots of expletives in this clip.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Citizentube in London: Looking ahead at the 2010 UK Elections

With the UK's elections coming up (most likely) in the spring of next year (Gordon Brown must call them by June 3rd), there's been a lot of talk in the UK over how the Internet will play a role in the campaign. The last general election was in May of 2005 - the same month that YouTube was invented - so this will be the first UK election in which video will play a role in the public debate. A few weeks ago, I was in the UK en route to Copenhagen for our COP-15 CNN/YouTube Debate, and met with several MP's and staffers from the British Parliament to discuss video and their strategy.

Most people don't think that the UK elections will play out on the Internet the same way as our U.S. election did in 2008, for a lot of reasons: the election season is much shorter (only 4-6 weeks); British politics is less "personality driven" than U.S. politics; there's less room for innovation in British politics due to an entrenched party system of campaigning. However, regulations against buying political commercials on television (each party instead gets one official 5-minute "party political broadcast" on television, which most people say is a signal for the viewer to flip the channel) will ensure that web video will be a place where the parties can broadcast consistent messages. And all the major parties have been using YouTube for a few years now - Conservative leader (and heavily favored) David Cameron's "Web Cameron" has garnered international notice (we even did a Citizentube interview with him waaay back in 2007), and of course Gordon Brown has been using YouTube at 10 Downing St. ever since he took over from Tony Blair in June of 2007 (Just before leaving office, Blair announced he was the first world leader with an official YouTube channel on June 21st, 2007).

After our event with the M.P.'s and staffers, I did a short interview with the BBC's Rory Cellan-Jones, who posted the audio and a re-cap of our meeting on his blog, dot.life. You can check it out at this link, and stay tuned here for more on how web video will influence the election in the U.K. in the coming months.

Citizentube in Moscow

After our CNN/YouTube Climate Change debate in Copenhagen last week, I've take a few days to visit our country offices on this side of the Atlantic. I'm currently in Moscow, meeting with some of our news partners and talking with Russian journalists about citizen media here. In the past few months, we've seen some notable news clips uploaded by Russian YouTubers, including a viral confessional by Russian policeman Alexey Dymoskiy that inspired other officers to come forward with information on corruption in the Russian police; a video of a hustle at a consumer electronics store in which laptops were being pawned off for $300 apiece; and this amazing clip of a forklift topping crates upon crates of vodka at a Russian warehouse:

There are some impressive sites that exclusively collect and distribute citizen-generated news footage in Russia. The most popular is probably Mobile Reporter - m.reporter.ru - which serves as a kind of pitch factory for citizen reporters - you send a report to them via direct upload or their new texting application, and they pitch it to the likes of BBC News or Vesti, one of the Russian broadcasters here. They seem to have had success: one of the browse filters on the site is "Seen on TV", and there are lots of clips that have made it to television. Most of them are of auto accidents, severe weather, or fires.

The site Live Journal also has a community of citizen reporters, created in conjunction with the BBC, they call it "Live Report". A little less robust than Mobile Reporter, Live Report seems to be primarily photos. Live Journal, however, is a very popular community site in Russia - over 8.7 M people visit it a month.

More and more Russians are using the Internet to make their voices heard - it's the only medium that has not been heavily regulated by the government. Moscow has only 80% broadband access, and the rest of the country hovers at 20% - however, in just the last year, the number of blogs here has doubled to 7.4 M. President Medvedev's new Kremlin YouTube channel shows that even the state recognizes the power of the web to reach people.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Franken denies Lieberman "additional moment" in Senate discussions on health care

Sure, Senate hearings can be slow and maybe a little dull - but not all the time. CSPAN caught this exchange between Senators Franken and Lieberman during a Senate session on health care yesterday. Senator Franken denies Senator Lieberman an "additional moment" to finish his remarks.

TMPtv has a longer version of the incident that includes Senator John McCain expressing his frank disapproval of Senator Franken's behavior.

Radiohead's frontman wants answers in Copenhagen

Copenhagen has been a prime spot for environmentally-conscious celebrity spotting. Here's an interview with Radiohead's Thom Yorke from GristTV about why he made a last-minute decision to come to the conference and why he thinks it's critical to cut carbon emissions:

Thursday, December 17, 2009

The Davos Debates 2010: Your Pitch To The World

This year’s iteration of The Davos Debates is up and running, offering one YouTube user the opportunity to attend this year’s World Economic Forum meeting in Davos to put forward the cause they are most passionate about at a specially convened panel.

Our candidate will get the opportunity to engage and debate with the world’s leaders and take the opportunity that Davos offers to elevate the cause that is closest to their heart. As you can imagine: we’re looking for someone a bit special. Someone like you? See below for more details:

What sort of person are we looking for?

The winner of the Davos Debates will be someone with knowledge and passion for a public cause, who can demonstrate they're able to interact with the world's leaders. We want to hear real stories from people working on local issues, with a view to offering the opportunity to make these concerns global. Maybe it's fighting for human rights, or the environment, or against poverty? Maybe it's world fishing, education, or political freedoms? Whatever it is, we're looking someone who isn't afraid to get their voice heard, and give them the chance to be at Davos.

How does it work?

From today until the January 4, we're asking YouTube users to submit their video entries. Five finalists will be selected by a judging panel comprised of Paolo Coelho, Arianna Huffington and Muhammad Yunus. These finalist videos will then go to public vote on January 8, with a winner announced on the January 19.

Beyond that, and the information at the World Economic Forum channel, it's up to you. So get filming, rally some support and Make Your Pitch To The World.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

CNN/YouTube climate change debate on CNN Thursday night in the U.S.

The CNN/YouTube debate on climate change, which we livestreamed Tuesday on youtube.com/cop15, is now up on Citizentube in case you missed it:

And here are the TV show times for the debate on CNN:

* Wednesday, 9pm GMT, on CNN-International
* Thursday, 6 pm JST, on CNN-International
* Thursday, 8 pm PST and 11 pm PST, on CNN-domestic (U.S.)
* Saturday, 10 am GMT and 4 pm GMT, CNN-international
* Sunday, 5 pm JST, CNN-International

Tune in and let us know what you think here in the comments.

Protesters raise their voices in Copenhagen

Protests are continuing in Copenhagen outside the United Nations Climate Change Conference. Many NGOs are protesting because the UN slashed the number of NGOs that would be permitted inside the building (40,000 NGO credentials were handed out but only 15,000 people will be allowed inside). This video, taken by a protestor, provides more insight:

Thousands of others are upset with the direction that the conference is taking and are unsatisfied with the progress that has been made. This footage is from a walk-out of indigenous people from the Bella Center:

And the protests are raging outside the walls of the conference as well. Thousands have taken to the streets outside the Bella Center (the metro stop there has been shut down) and many have been arrested. Here's an account from an arrested protester:

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Gearing up for the CNN/YouTube Climate Debate in Copenhagen

We're just hours away from the CNN/YouTube Climate Debate, brought to you from the United Nations Climate Conference in Copenhagen. All questions came from the YouTube community - so tune in to watch it live at www.youtube.com/cop15

But first, here's a quick behind-the-scenes look at the set-up for today's event:

And you can follow the debate on Twitter with #cnnytdebate

Live on YouTube: Leaders Answer Your Questions in the CNN/YouTube Climate Debate

Today, at 8 a.m. ET, a panel of world climate leaders, among them former U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan and journalist Thomas Friedman, will gather in Copenhagen and answer the top questions that you submitted to the CNN/YouTube Climate Debate channel.

You can watch them address the issues that matter to you in real-time: We'll be live-streaming the debate at www.youtube.com/cop15.

Thank you for making this event truly international. We received thousands of questions from Italy to Brazil, Nigeria to New Zealand. To get a scope of just how many countries are represented, see this map, which depicts global submissions through a Google Earth layer.

And if you didn't have a chance to submit a question, but still want to raise your voice about climate change, we encourage you to join the discussion on Twitter during the debate using hashtag #cnnytdebate.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Protests in Sudan for democratic reform

This video was posted last week, but we didn't come across it until today. It shows demonstrators peacefully marching in the streets of Omdurman in Sudan, protesting for democratic reform.

Yesterday, clashes arose between protesters and the Sudanese police - and police forces reportedly used tear-gas and threw stones to dispel the crowds. We haven't seen any videos from these most recent events uploaded to YouTube yet, but we'll post an update if they do. If you've seen any, please leave a link in the comments section below. For more information, read the BBC's recent article.

Footage of Silvio Berlusconi after attack dominates on YouTube

All but four of the 50 "Most Viewed" videos in the News & Politics category on YouTube today featured Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, who was attacked at a political rally in Milan over the weekend. A man in the crowd allegedly punched Berlusconi in the face while holding a small statue, leaving his face badly wounded. We saw a similar pattern last year when an Iraqi threw a shoe at President Bush and footage of the incident dominated the Most Viewed rankings in News & Politics for days.

Here's a screenshot of the "Most Viewed" leaderboard today on youtube.com/news:

This footage from ITN News (with almost 170,000 views at the time of this post) shows the Prime Minister's face bloodied and beaten and looking quite dazed.

Win-a-Trip with Nick 2010

New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof just announced his fourth annual "Win a Trip" contest, in which a lucky winner will get the chance to travel to Africa. Kristof will select one university student to accompany him as he embarks on a reporting trip for 10 days to a yet-to-be-disclosed location in Africa. The winner will write blog posts for nytimes.com as well as send video reports from the field that will be posted to Nicholas Kristof's YouTube channel.

So, if you're a student 18 or older currently enrolled in an American university, you're eligible to win if you write an essay and/or submit a video up to 3-minutes long. All videos must be attached as a video response to this call-out video (just click on the text "Post a Video Response" right above the comment section, or click on this link)

Read more about the contest and the official rules on Kristof's blog.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

More protest footage from today in Iran

Protests erupted again today in Iran

Here's a playlist of some of the videos that have been shared on YouTube:

Live from Copenhagen... 2 days until CNN/YT Town hall

We just arrived here in Copenhagen, Denmark to prepare for the CNN/YouTube town hall on Tuesday here at the COP-15 Climate Change Conference. It's not too late to submit your question for our panelists at youtube.com/cop15.

Tonight we checked out "The Cube" - a giant art installation that is playing your YouTube submissions on giant screens in down town Copenhagen. Take a look:

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

New York Times article examines role of YouTube in West Bank struggle

Robert Mackey posted this article on the New York Times Lede blog earlier today: Graphic Glimpses of West Bank Struggle on YouTube. In it, he discusses how YouTube has become an important front in the clash between Israelis and Palestinians, with supporters of both sides using the site to share amateur videos depicting acts of violence.

Mackey writes:
"in some ways YouTube is already a key front in the battle for international public opinion about what is happening in the contested West Bank."
Be sure to read the full article here.

Don't blog about it. Be about it.

Great video from user Baratunde about getting involved in politics, investing in your community and about actually doing something for the things you care about. Worth a watch:

Despite his advice, we blogged about it.

The most viral nonprofit video EVER???

It's a lofty title, but the Pink Glove Dance video may just have claimed the spot as the most viral nonprofit video in YouTube history.

At 4.4 million views and dozens of press mentions, this inspiring and catchy video that features the Providence St. Vincent Medical Center staff dancing to raise awareness of breast cancer, is setting an example of what really works on YouTube (they obviously took copious notes during the JKWedding video!). If you haven't seen it yet, take a look here:

If you tell me you're not smiling now, you're probably lying. What makes this video even more heartwarming is that you can see that the entire staff had an amazing time making the video and promoting the cause. It's an A+ effort that other nonprofits should take note of.

PBS NewsHour comes to YouTube

[Cross-posted to the YouTube blog]

After nearly 35 years on air, PBS NewsHour recently re-launched its broadcast program and website in an effort to provide viewers with NewsHour content wherever, whenever and however they want to access it. As part of this transformation, the nightly news program is starting a major new initiative with YouTube.

The PBS NewsHour channel on YouTube (http://youtube.com/pbsnewshour) will host nightly reports from the NewsHour television broadcast, posted the same night the broadcast airs on PBS. The NewsHour will also post web-original videos featuring its new online correspondent Hari Sreenivasan. These news segments will be archived on the NewsHour YouTube channel, ensuring that those looking for video of past news events will easily be able to find it.

The launch of the PBS NewsHour channel is the latest in a series of PBS and NewsHour projects with YouTube, including last year's Video Your Vote project that encouraged voters to film and post their experience at the polls during Election Day 2008. The project attracted more than 2,500 videos from across the country, which PBS was able to incorporate into its Election Night coverage.

While the new NewsHour program, website and YouTube channel represent the evolution of how we consume the news in the 21st century, the journalism within will continue to engage, inform and enlighten Americans about the issues and events that directly affect their everyday lives — just as it has from the very beginning.

Jim Lehrer, anchor of NewsHour, and Obadiah Greenberg, YouTube Strategic Partner Manager

Kofi Annan, Thomas Friedman to join CNN/YouTube Climate Debate panel

Last week, we announced the CNN/YouTube Climate Debate in Copenhagen, an effort to make sure that your voice is included in the climate debate - and that your questions are posed to decision-makers on an international stage.

These leaders will include Kofi Annan, Thomas Friedman, Yves de Boer, and Bjorn Lomberg.

To submit your question, upload a short video of yourself posing the question and submit it here: www.youtube.com/cop15. We've already seen some top-notch video questions like this one from Mo in Florida who is concerned about the cost of going green:

Angela asks about the consequences of climate change and what happens if Copenhagen leads to nothing:

And Helena in Rio de Janeiro is asking about environmental education in schools:

You can vote on your the questions above and others, and submit your own at www.youtube.com/cop15. The debate will be live-streamed on this YouTube channel on December 15 so make sure to watch and see if world leaders answer your question.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Israeli President launches official YouTube channel

Today, Israeli President Shimon Peres announced the launch of the Israeli Office of the President YouTube channel, located at www.youtube.com/peres. YouTube co-founder, Chad Hurley, was also present with President Peres in Jerusalem for the announcement.

A self-described "technology evangelist", President Peres said that he plans to use his new YouTube channel to hold online discussions with a global audience and to promote peace and interfaith dialogue. President Peres joins Queen Elizabeth II, the Pope, Queen Rania and The White House in using the power of the Internet to connect with citizens around the world.

The president's office will be uploading videos that give both Israelis and those living outside of the country a behind-the-scenes look at the Israeli presidency. In addition to housing archived speeches, documentary footage and informational videos, President Peres' YouTube channel will feature an interactive element in which citizens may submit questions and engage in conversation with the President and his office directly.

Be sure to watch President Peres' welcome video:

Monday, December 7, 2009

More from the Student Day protests in Iran

Videos have continued to come streaming into YouTube throughout the day, and we've been updating this playlist with new videos as they've been posted.

This wobbly footage appears to show a clash between riot police and citizens - and shots can be heard in the background:

This video, which we found via the New York Times' Lede blog, shows students protesting at Polytechnic University pulling down a gate that's holding them in:

High school students are also participating in the protests:

This video from earlier in the day shows protesters and the Basiji facing off on either side of a fence:

This video indicates that protests have continued into the night in Tehran:

New student protests in Iran to mark annual Students' Day

Videos documenting a new crop of protests in Tehran this morning are showing up on YouTube. This round of protests are being led by students, marking the annual Students' Day, which remembers the death of three students who were killed during a demonstration at Tehran University on Dec. 7, 1953.

Reports have come in to various news organizations that the Basij, the Iranian police forces brought in to silence protesters, have again used violent means to stop the pro-reform activists marching in the streets.

Here's a playlist of some of the videos that have been uploaded to YouTube today and were allegedly shot in the last 10 hours or so:

This video shows a group of Basij riding on motorcycles through Tehran:

This video shows students lighting a picture of Ayatolla Khameini (Iran's spiritual leader) on fire:

The New York Times Lede blog is live-blogging the events as they unfold in Tehran.

Friday, December 4, 2009

NY State Senate speech on gay marriage goes viral

New York State Senator Diane Savino delivered a passionate speech in front of the State Senate in Albany, NY earlier this week about the Marriage Equality bill. Already at 176,000+ views at the time of this posting, this video is spreading quickly on blogs and social networks.

Check out the video:

And here's a snapshot of the Insight data about how this video is being discovered:

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Is Tiger Feeling Lucky Today?

The folks over at Slate V have done it again: brilliant commentary on the latest celebrity scandal -fallen hero, Tiger Woods. Slate's made use of the new Google "Search Stories" campaign and produced this hilarious spoof at the expense of Woods, golf's green-jacket-wearing golden boy.

StillerStrong: Ben gives Lance a run for his money

Watch out, Lance. Ben Stiller is stealing your fundraising mojo...

This week, Stiller launched "StillerStrong," which is self-described as "stealing great ideas from other charities to build a school in Haiti." Hear from Stiller himself about this new project and his new headbands:

Even though the video itself is funny and well-done, what really impressed me was the neat and functional use of external annotations to drive action to various social networking and fundraising platforms. Looks like Livestrong may have some serious competition...check out www.stillerstrong.org for more information.

Connect with world leaders on the climate debate

Next week 192 countries will participate in the Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen — the first step in setting new international commitments for carbon reduction. We want to be sure your voice is included in the debate.

That's why, starting today, you can
submit and vote on questions to ask world climate leaders during a televised town hall on CNN. With Google Moderator on YouTube for the first time, you can view, add, and vote on video or text questions in one spot.

Questions will be translated into numerous languages using the Google Language API, giving you a chance to read and vote on text questions from around the world. Voting and submissions will be accepted until December 14. You can also track the conversation and vote on new questions. Visit
www.youtube.com/cop15 now to get started.

Next week we'll post an update on popular and interesting questions. We're looking forward to seeing what ideas you and others around the world have for addressing climate change.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Two new reporting assignments using YouTube Direct

Two new reporting assignments are now up on YouTube news partner sites.

Al Jazeera English invited users to submit their videos on Hajj, the annual Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca, which took place from November 25 - 29 this year. Did you experience Hajj or have thoughts about this Muslim ritual? You can still upload your videos on the Al Jazeera website.

The Huffington Post launched a new assignment around New York street performers. They're spending the next few weeks collecting video documentation of the colorful world of NYC subway artists and musicians, and they want you to submit your videos here.

Check out this amazing example of Subway Gymnastics: