Wednesday, April 28, 2010

"Bigotgate": Gordon Brown's "Macaca" Moment

"Bigotgate," an incident in the UK between PM Gordon Brown and an elderly woman on the campaign trail, just happened earlier today but is already being billed as the biggest gaffe of the UK election season.

In this clip, Brown is first seen talking to a woman who takes issue with the way immigration is dealt with in the UK. Then, after she leaves and he gets into a car, he doesn't realize the mic is still live and proceeds to call the incident "a disaster" and her "a bigoted woman".

YouTube users have already uploaded a slew of takedowns, analyses, and parodies of the incident. Here's a brief sample:

Brown has apologized profusely but will that be enough to counter the massive viral firestorm that "Bigotgate" is becoming? We'll see in a few weeks.

Monday, April 26, 2010

YouTube Direct 2.0, new and improved with photos, a mobile app, and more

Last fall, we announced the release of YouTube Direct, a tool that allows media organizations to request, review and rebroadcast YouTube clips directly from YouTube users, and on their own website. In addition to our launch partners (ABC News, the Huffington Post, NPR, Politico, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Washington Post, and WHDH-TV/WLVI-TV in Boston), many other news organizations and websites -- including the Tribune Company, Gannett, Al Jazeera, and ITN News -- have signed on and are using the platform to collect citizen reporting and commentary around news events all around the world. There are nearly 400 news partners on YouTube able to use YouTube Direct to generate news content that helps them extend and engage their audience.

Today, we’re rolling out the latest version of YouTube Direct, which includes substantial upgrades that make it easier for news organizations to test and customize the platform. In addition to several back-end changes, we’ve also added new features including:

  • Now citizen reporters can submit photos as well as video
  • Mobile application code for both the iPhone and Android
  • Ability to view and edit YouTube captions for any video submitted (with support for all caption languages)
  • Multiple YouTube Direct upload modules now possible on a single page
  • Additional customization and messaging options
If you’re already using YouTube Direct, we strongly encourage you to upgrade. And if you haven’t yet embraced the platform, but want to use YouTube to connect with a larger audience, now is the perfect time to get started.

For more information, visit And to receive updates and announcements in the future, please subscribe to the YouTube API Announcements Google Group.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Five YouTube Reporters win $10,000 journalism grants from Project: Report

They documented college dining hall workers, teens struggling with cancer, and doctors treating the poor. Through Project: Report, a journalism contest produced in partnership with the Pulitzer Center, aspiring journalists from around the country had the chance to tell stories that might not otherwise be told. And after months of reporting, shooting, and editing, the five grand prize winning reporters impressed the panel of judges and the voting community, and we’re showcasing their videos on the YouTube homepage today. Each winner will receive a $10,000 grant from the Pulitzer Center to report on an under-reported story outside of the United States. Mark Jeevaratnam chose to tell the story of a group addressing prescription drug abuse in an Appalachian coal-mining town in southeast Kentucky: 


Paul Franz follows the story of Joseph Dieune, a Haitian migrant worker who sends money to his family back home:  


Samantha Danis explored the challenges facing the deaf community in America:  


Alex Rozier reported on an organization in Missouri trying to help the world’s immobile people: 


And Elan Gepner documented how the Philadelphia Student Union is trying to combat violence through community-building efforts:  


The Pulitzer Center also selected "Friends of Mago" as the winner of the Round 2 “Open Submission” Award, and the Project: Report community chose A Day in the Life -- the story of Lauren Edens -- to win the Community Award. Both receive a Sony VAIO notebook with the all new Intel Core Processor and promotion on the YouTube homepage today. Visit the Project: Report channel ( to watch all of the submissions as well as the video blogs posted by each of the semi-finalists. We hope their work inspires you to think about ways you can use your video camera and YouTube to share important stories with the rest of the world.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Tonight: the UK’s first ever election debate

In 1960, Richard Nixon and John F. Kennedy squared off in the first-ever televised debate in the United States. The debate made history and many say was a determining factor in the election's outcome.

Tonight, history will be made in the UK as Labour leader and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, Conservative leader David Cameron and the Liberal Democrats' Nick Clegg participate in the first-ever, live television debate to decide the UK's next P.M.. The debate will air at 8:30 p.m. UK time tonight on ITV and on BBC 4 Radio. Afterward, anyone in the world can tune into YouTube to watch the debate in its entirety, as well as clips of the top moments, on ITV's YouTube channel.

You also have the opportunity to pose your own questions to the candidates in the YouTube/Facebook Digital Debate. Brown, Cameron and Clegg will answer your top-voted questions about the most pressing issues facing the United Kingdom. Already, over 1500 questions have been asked and 60,000 votes have been cast through Google Moderator on YouTube and Facebook. Add your voice to the debate today:

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Brazilian Supreme Court’s Chief Justice to answer your questions

We are excited that the Supreme Federal Court of Brazil (STF) is the latest government body to take questions on YouTube. More and more, leaders around the world are using YouTube to connect directly with citizens, but this is the first time that the highest court of law in any country in the world has used YouTube to engage in meaningful dialogue with our community about the political process and governmental issues.

Brazilians -- and anyone else in the YouTube community -- can use our Google Moderator platform to ask questions on the STF’s YouTube Channel at Questions may be submitted in either video or text. Once questions are submitted, any YouTube user will have the opportunity to vote on whether or not they think a particular question should be posed to the Chief Justice of the STF, Gilmar Mendes. Justice Mendes will answer some of the top-voted questions in a television broadcast from “TV Justi├ža” on April 16, 18 hrs. (Brasilia time, 14 hrs. PT). His video response will also be available on YouTube via the STF Official YouTube Channel.

The Supreme Court of Brazil launched its channel in October 2009, and in only six months the Court has uploaded more than 1700 videos, accumulating over one million views on the site. This kind of video engagement makes politics more personal, more democratic, and has shown that it is possible to open up local (i.e. MX), regional, (i.e EU), and global (i.e. COP15) initiatives in exciting new ways.

Questions for the STF may be submitted on any of the following topics:

Form of appointment of a Minister of the STF
Role of the Supreme Court
Balance of activities of the STF and CNJ
Effectiveness of judicial decisions
Proposals of the National Council of Justice
Corruption in the Judiciary system
Democratization of access to justice
Judicial activism
Computerisation of Judiciary
Prerogative of judges
Judiciary exchange in Mercosur and other countries

All questions should relate to one of the themes above and abide by the YouTube Community Guidelines.

This is your chance to engage directly with one of the world’s most impressive legal bodies and make sure your voice is heard. Submit your question today and stay tuned to see if the STF responds.

Posted by Ivo Correa, Government Relations, Google Brasil

Monday, April 12, 2010

McCain campaign back at it with eyebrow-raising web ads

Remember the McCain campaign's hit web ads "Celeb" and "The One" from the 2008 election? Now that Senator McCain is fighting for his U.S. Senate seat in the Arizona GOP primary, he's back to YouTube with web ads meant to grab your attention. This one, a mock campaign ad from his opponent J.D. Hayworth, is rising fast on YouTube:

UK Labour Party learns by Boone Oakley's example

In our "Secrets to Nonprofit Video Success" post below, one tip offered was to emulate videos that have already proven themselves to be extremely successful on YouTube. That wasn't just a successful tip for nonprofits, as demonstrated by the United Kingdom Labour Party's latest effort, which bears a striking resemblance to the wildly creative and popular Boone Oakley video. Here are the two videos back to back:

Both videos leverage YouTube's Annotations feature, which allow users to insert interactive commentary into content and link to more information about a specific topic. You can add customized annotations to your next video by selecting "Edit Video" after it is uploaded.

Red Shirt protesters in Thailand clash with security forces, killing 17

On Saturday, protesters in Thailand known as the "Red Shirts" (for wearing red clothing as they march in the streets), clashed violently with police forces.  The Red Shirts have been calling for the dissolution of Parliament, the ousting of Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, and a new round of elections for the last month, but this weekend, tensions rose as security forces quelled the demonstrations.   17 civilians were killed and hundreds more were injured.

Dozens of eyewitness videos are being uploaded to YouTube documenting Saturday's unrest.

This video, taken and narrated by the user Thaifaq, who was in the crowd, shows how the scene turned from peaceful to deadly in a matter of moments.  The music that never ceases playing in the background of this clip makes the events that unfold in the footage even more chilling.

Here's an extremely graphic video uploaded yesterday, showing a man who's just been shot in the head.  Viewer discretion is strongly advised.

And here is a playlist, which we will continue to update, of other videos allegedly taken in Bangkok this past weekend:

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Secrets to Nonprofit Video Success

Secrets to making a great nonprofit video

Today, we announced the winners of the YouTube Nonprofit Video Awards, a celebration of the best videos from organizations in the YouTube Nonprofit Program over the past year. The four victorious videos are spotlighted on the YouTube homepage today.

Over 750 videos were submitted to this year’s awards, ranging from quirky narratives about how life on another planet relates to equal rights on Earth to honest testimonials from young dancers. In other words, these videos don’t have a lot in common, except for these central tenets which should guide anyone wanting to create compelling videos for nonprofit organizations. (If this is you, please check out our Video Volunteers program.)

1. Content is still king

First and foremost, you want to make sure that your video is appropriate for the organizational goals you want to hit. Before you start filming, sit down and figure out what you want to accomplish and whom you want to reach. A video targeting high-dollar donors may look very different from one that’s intended to train your volunteers.

Then, think about ways that you can put a creative spin on your video. Good, original content — whether it’s heartfelt and serious or light and humorous — goes a long way on YouTube. Here are a few approaches you may think about taking:
  • Tell serial stories. Engage viewers with a series of videos that tell a story around a specific theme, and keep them coming back for more. Once you've created a few episodes, put them into a playlist. This allows you to develop several video narratives targeted at particular demographics. A good example is Rainforest Action Network’s “Greenwash of the Week” series or “Oxfam’s Green Granny” series.
  • Respond to current events. Address relevant news stories by posting videos that explain your position. You can then embed them in emails to your supporters — a video message can be more effective than a text-laden email. Also, users are probably more likely to be searching for topics currently in the news and may be more likely to find your video organically through the YouTube search bar. You’ll want to be sure to tag your video with timely and relevant words.
  • Make your audience part of the video. Using YouTube annotations, you can create a “choose your own adventure”-style video, which puts the viewer in the driver’s seat and allows them to decide their video “fate.” Two great nonprofit examples of this style are “A Different Ending,” a campaign combating knife crime in the U.K., and “That’s Not Cool,” a campaign from the Ad Council about staying safe online.

2. You don’t need a Hollywood budget to succeed

Gone are the days when you need a large camera crew to make sure people watch your video; some of the most successful videos on YouTube have been created with an extremely minimal budget. Your organization can get started with video even if you only have a few hundred dollars; for example, the Flip Video Spotlight program offers nonprofits a two-for-one deal on their Flip Ultra cameras (which averages out to about $60 per camera).

Another alternative, if you’re low on staff and monetary resources, is to participate in the YouTube Video Volunteers. Each month, the program features a different issue (this month it’s climate change) and matches nonprofits who need help with video creation with passionate YouTube users who can produce content. The top three volunteer videos are put on the YouTube homepage at the end of the month. Here are the winning videos from last round, which focused on global development:

3. It’s OK to follow the leader

Here’s a piece of advice your boss will probably never give you: start watching a few popular YouTube videos every day, even if they have seemingly nothing to do with your organization. You may not see the connection between your issues and Fred, a sneezing panda or Dancing Matt, but these videos are resonating with a huge number of people on YouTube. See if you can replicate elements of these viral videos in your own organization’s content. Seriously, couldn’t Keyboard Cat be the next poster cat for animal welfare?

The Pink Glove Dance,” arguably the most viral nonprofit video ever with over 8 million views, followed this method beautifully. The Portland St. Vincent Medical Center snatched a page right out of the J.K. Wedding playbook.

It’s a recipe you can follow, too. Just mix together a cute cast of snappy dancers (bonus points if they’re not classically trained), an irresistibly catchy but inspirational song that you have permission to use, add a sprinkling of cause messaging, and you’re good to go.

Nonprofits can also apply for the YouTube Nonprofit Program, which offers free premium perks to organizations in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada and Australia like branded channels, the ability to add call-to-action overlays to videos to drive traffic to external sites, and the ability to add a Google Checkout button to your channel. These tools can add another layer of interactivity to the content you’re creating.

Happy filming and good luck!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Interview with Wikileaks editor on release of military video

Russia Today just published this interview with Julian Assange, editor and co-founder of WikiLeaks, the website which leaked the footage of Baghdad killing of 2 Reuters reporters on YouTube earlier this week. Very interesting to hear his thoughts:

If you haven't seen the video yet, it's here.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Representative Phil Hare responds to YouTube gotcha video

Representative Phil Hare (D-Il) was the latest victim of a gotcha YouTube video that's shot above 300K views, in which he responds in frustration to the critics of his healthcare vote by saying he "doesn't care what the Constitution says" on the matter.

Hare then uploaded a video, a day later, explaining that the Constitution is "near and dear to me" and that his comments were taken out of context. That clip is over 100K views. In his response, he says, "we should never have to do this" (referencing that he should never have to explain his position in response to an Internet video).

Monday, April 5, 2010

Wikileaks releases video of Reuters journalists killed in Iraq

Nearly two years after two Reuters journalists were killed in a military strike in Iraq, Wikileaks - a nonprofit that publishes leaked documents from government whistleblowers - has published footage it claims is classified U.S. military video of the killings to YouTube. Reuters has tried to secure the footage through a FOIA request, but Wikileaks obtained the footage through whistleblowers within the government who felt, according to Wikileaks, that the atmosphere around the killings was overly relaxed. A U.S. Military investigation determined that the shooting, which were intended to kill enemy combatants, were within its Rules of Engagement.

Here's the video - viewer discretion advised:

Wikileaks has set up a microsite where you can learn more about the incident from the research they've done, and this New York Times piece, written in July of 2007 when the attack took place, gives a good overview of the incident from those involved.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Letters to Lansing answered with a YouTube twist

In a recent segment of PBS Newshour, political blogger Micah Sifry commented that it would be a great step forward if President Obama started responding to constituent letters via YouTube on a regular basis. While President Obama has yet to implement a series like this on the White House YouTube channel, it appears that Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm has taken Sifry's advice to heart.

This week, Granholm released this video in which she reads aloud from citizen mail and comments on each letter:

The Granholm team says they plan to continue creating videos like this on a regular basis. In my opinion, it's a nice, simple example of state government using old and new forms of communication in tandem to respond to citizen concerns. And for those of you who can't bear to use snail mail, there's always the "post a video response" option.

Al Gore + You(?) = Earth Day's 40th Celebration

The success of the film An Inconvenient Truth had several outcomes: it moved the issue of climate change into the spotlight and forced average citizens to think about their consumption; it catapulted former U.S. Vice President Al Gore into the role of global climate champion; and it demonstrated that film has the power to promote social change.

In anticipation of the 40th anniversary of Earth Day, we're building upon these results by partnering with Vice President Al Gore and his organization, the Alliance for Climate Protection, on our next round of Video Volunteers.

This month, as Video Volunteers curator, Gore is asking you to use film to do good by creating a short, inspiring video for your favorite climate change organization. The top three videos will appear on the YouTube homepage alongside a video from Gore himself as part of a very special Earth Day spotlight. Here he is with more details about the program and why it's imperative that you take action:

Earth Day is on April 22, so we're working with an abridged Video Volunteers timeline this month. All entries must be submitted by April 19 to be considered, so get your camera out today. And if you're a nonprofit organization working on issues related to climate change, this could be your chance to make a big impact on the YouTube homepage. You can post an opportunity for a Video Volunteer here.

Visit now to get started!

Cross-posted on the YouTube Blog

Thursday, April 1, 2010

New York State Senator's campaign against saggy pants polls well on YouTube

The folks at Tech President just blogged about Eric Adams, a New York State Senator who is using his YouTube channel to promote a different kind of campaign (i.e. it's not for his re-election). The campaign, called "Stop the Sag" calls upon Americans to stop the wearing of slouchy pants - and the campaign's getting traction. This video has received over 50,000 views since last Friday:

It's definitely interesting to see how local politicians are using their YouTube channels to engage with their constituents on issues that aren't ordinarily on the political agenda. This issue looks like it's polling well for Adams as there are numerous positive YouTube comments including these:

  • RealSourCupcakes its about time someone spoke out against sagging pants. its disturbing to walk down the streets in NYC, when all you see is 500 different colors of boxers. there couldn't be a better topic than this <3>
  • canote718 thank you for leading the way in stopping sagging pants! This "trend" has gone way to far. I am tired of walking down the street and seeing young men with their underwear hanging out. (27 likes)