Sunday, February 28, 2010

Videos of the 8.8 Earthquake in Chile and the Aftermath

A massive earthquake measuring 8.8 on the richter scale shook Chile at 3:34 a.m. on Saturday morning, waking most people in the middle of the night. Buildings have been destroyed, hundreds were killed, and many remain missing. Since then, we've seen videos documenting the earthquake and its aftermath pouring onto YouTube. News organizations have been covering the tragedy 24/7, and citizens who experienced the epic natural disaster are sharing their experience with the rest of the world through their own videos. This video taken during the earthquake gives a sense of what it was like to jump out of bed in the dark as your surroundings shook for more than 90 seconds: And here you can see some of the structural damage caused by the earthquake, as user edielv surveys his neighborhood the next morning: To upload your own videos of the earthquake in Chile, visit the Google Crisis Response landing page. For video updates on what's happening in Chile, be sure to check CitizenTube. Olivia Ma, News & Politics Manager, recently watched "Quake survivors reunited."

Pop Star Jesse McCartney Headlines Today's "Healthy" Video Volunteers Homepage

Our Video Volunteers homepage lineup today features videos about nonprofits tackling important health issues: artist Jesse McCartney thanks you for standing up to cancer; themike99 tells a personal story about the tie between mercury poisoning and kidney failure; BangPopLA champions Whole Child LA and their work to help kids with chronic pain; and themattieboosh offers this animated take on the importance of funding leukemia research:

We had a record-breaking number of nonprofits participate in this round of Video Volunteers. Fifty health-oriented organizations signed up to have a member of the YouTube community make a video for them, and while we are only able to showcase a handful on the homepage today, we hope that many more nonprofits will have videos made for them. We'll leave these opportunities from health orgs up for a few more days on the Video Volunteers channel, so if you didn't make a video, but are passionate about helping one of these organizations, please reach out as soon as you can.

Next week, we'll launch our "Global Development" round of Video Volunteers. It's an issue that encompasses a number of different subjects, like poverty, sanitation and the need for infrastructure, and there are a number of nonprofits doing work in this area, like Plan International, One Million Lights, and the Playing for Change Foundation. We hope you'll make one of them a video.

Cross-posted on the YouTube blog

Friday, February 26, 2010

YouTube Interviews: Pelosi, Boehner, Reid answer your health care questions

For over seven hours yesterday, the nation's top leaders gathered in Washington for a unique conversation on the future of health care reform. Moderated by President Obama, the healthcare summit revealed disparate views on current legislation, with Democrats arguing for comprehensive reform and Republicans pressing for a more incremental approach (or for starting over entirely). We streamed the entire summit on CitizenTube, and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, Minority Leader John Boehner, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid all agreed to answer some of your top-voted questions from our Google Moderator platform during the event. (We also offered the opportunity to Senator Mitch McConnnell, the Senate Minority Leader, but he was unable to participate due to a scheduling conflict.)

Though it's doubtful many of you were able to tune in to the entire meeting, the fact that it was broadcast online was an important aspect of the discussion. It spoke to one of the top concerns that YouTube users posed to President Obama in our YouTube Interview earlier this month, when they demanded that health care proceedings become more transparent.

We selected three top-voted questions and the two top-voted ideas that you submitted during the summit, and the lawmakers replied to the same five questions with the YouTube videos that we've embedded below, which are also posted on the YouTube homepage today.

Here are the questions and ideas that each leader answered. We'll leave the full list up on CitizenTube for the next few days:

1. What is the explicit reasoning behind mandating the purchase of healthcare services? - Chris, University of Florida

2. Do you believe that healthcare is a right, or that health insurance is a right? - Brian, Student

3. Thompson Reuters had performed a study in which they concluded that 40% of healthcare waste was from unnecessary care. Unnecessary care is primarily a result of a fear of being sued, aka malpractice. What is being done to address malpractice? - JatPat, Chicago, IL

4. Why not quit artificially limiting the market? Stop tying health insurance to employers and increase the market dramatically. Allow insurance providers to sell across state lines and increase it even more. The larger the market the lower the price. - crodgers1981, Lincoln, NE

5. All people voting on these bills should be required to personally read the entire bill before being allowed to vote on it. It is ridiculous that these bills are thousands of pages long. Bills should be written in clear language. - Blinn, Illinois

Here are Speaker Pelosi's answers:

Here are Congressman Boehner's:

And here are Senator Reid's replies:

YouTube has become the place where leaders can connect directly with citizens around key events in the political process. That opportunity for meaningful dialogue makes politics feel more personal, more democratic, and opens up Washington in exciting new ways. Stay tuned for more YouTube interviews, and let us know in the comments whom you'd like the chance to speak with on this platform.

Steve Grove, Head of YouTube News and Politics, recently watched "
White House Health Care Summit Part I."

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Live, and Taking Your Questions: Health Care Summit on YouTube

[Cross-posted to the YouTube Blog]

While some people are calling it the most important political event of the year and others deem it political theater, one thing is clear: today's health care summit, featuring President Obama and top legislators from both bodies of Congress, will be a fascinating look into the inner workings of Washington. Democratic and Republican party leaders will engage in direct dialogue on an issue that has consumed the political landscape for the past year, and we'll be streaming the summit live on CitizenTube (, so you'll be able to watch the conversation unfold in its entirety.

What's more, top legislators have agreed to address your questions and ideas on health care after the summit, exclusively on YouTube. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, Minority LeaderJohn Boehner, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid have all agreed to answer a selection of your top-voted questions about health care, the summit, and current legislation, which you can submit via our Google Moderator platform on CitizenTube during the event. The three lawmakers will upload video responses to your questions, and we'll feature those videos on the YouTube homepage on Friday.

The summit starts at 10 a.m ET today at the Blair House (located just across the street from the White House), so head to CitizenTube to submit your questions as you watch the proceedings. Be sure to ask your questions and vote during the event, since we'll close down the Moderator platform at the conclusion of the summit, which is slated to end around 4 p.m. ET.

This promises to be one of the most transparent moments in recent Washington history, so get your health care questions ready.

Steve Grove, Head of News and Politics, recently watched "Stage Set for Obama's Health Care Summit."

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Serious threat to the web in Italy

[Cross-posted from the Google Blog]

In late 2006, students at a school in Turin, Italy filmed and then uploaded a video to Google Video that showed them bullying an autistic schoolmate. The video was totally reprehensible and we took it down within hours of being notified by the Italian police. We also worked with the local police to help identify the person responsible for uploading it and she was subsequently sentenced to 10 months community service by a court in Turin, as were several other classmates who were also involved. In these rare but unpleasant cases, that's where our involvement would normally end.

But in this instance, a public prosecutor in Milan decided to indict four Google employees —David Drummond, Arvind Desikan, Peter Fleischer and George Reyes (who left the company in 2008). The charges brought against them were criminal defamation and a failure to comply with the Italian privacy code. To be clear, none of the four Googlers charged had anything to do with this video. They did not appear in it, film it, upload it or review it. None of them know the people involved or were even aware of the video's existence until after it was removed.

Nevertheless, a judge in Milan today convicted 3 of the 4 defendants — David Drummond, Peter Fleischer and George Reyes — for failure to comply with the Italian privacy code. All 4 were found not guilty of criminal defamation. In essence this ruling means that employees of hosting platforms like Google Video are criminally responsible for content that users upload. We will appeal this astonishing decision because the Google employees on trial had nothing to do with the video in question. Throughout this long process, they have displayed admirable grace and fortitude. It is outrageous that they have been subjected to a trial at all.

But we are deeply troubled by this conviction for another equally important reason. It attacks the very principles of freedom on which the Internet is built. Common sense dictates that only the person who films and uploads a video to a hosting platform could take the steps necessary to protect the privacy and obtain the consent of the people they are filming. European Union law was drafted specifically to give hosting providers a safe harbor from liability so long as they remove illegal content once they are notified of its existence. The belief, rightly in our opinion, was that a notice and take down regime of this kind would help creativity flourish and support free speech while protecting personal privacy. If that principle is swept aside and sites like Blogger, YouTube and indeed every social network and any community bulletin board, are held responsible for vetting every single piece of content that is uploaded to them — every piece of text, every photo, every file, every video — then the Web as we know it will cease to exist, and many of the economic, social, political and technological benefits it brings could disappear.

These are important points of principle, which is why we and our employees will vigorously appeal this decision.

-- Posted by Matt Sucherman, VP and Deputy General Counsel - Europe, Middle East and Africa

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Cambodian man defuses landmine using only a penknife

On rare occasions, we come across how-to videos on YouTube that instruct citizens on how to avoid a life or death situation.

In this incredible video, uploaded last week, former child soldier Aki Ra defuses a Cambodian landmine using only a penknife and a stick, in under 4 minutes:

Five Days Left to Submit in Round 1 of Project: Report

The deadline is quickly approaching in the first round of Project: Report 2010, a journalism contest done in partnership with the Pulitzer Center for non-professional, aspiring journalists to tell stories in their community that might not otherwise be be told.

The assignment for Round 1 is to document a single day in the life of a compelling person the world should meet and showcase how that person is making a positive impact in his or her community. All videos must be three minutes or less, and the deadline for submissions is this Sunday, February 28, 2010.

Ten finalists will be chosen from the pool of Round 1 submissions by a panel of judges at the Pulitzer Center. Each finalist for Project: Report -- which is made possible by Sony and Intel -- will receive a Sony VAIO notebook with the new 2010 Intel Core i7 processor and a Sony HD video camera and proceed to the second and final round, where they will compete for five $10,000 travel fellowships to work with the Pulitzer Center on an international reporting project.

All five winners will also receive invitations to Washington, D.C., for a public screening of their work and the chance to participate in a special workshop with Pulitzer Center journalists.

You still have time to put together your Day in the Life piece if you get going today -- so find that person, tell their story, and submit your video on by Sunday.

We look forward to seeing your entries.

Olivia Ma, News & Politics Manager, recently watched "Arturo's Jerusalem Vlog: Episode One."

Monday, February 22, 2010

Leaked video from post-election Iran, taken by the attacker

User onlymehdi just tipped us off to this video, which he says "shows the attack on the University a day after the election" back in June. He explains that "the difference between this video and others is this is shot with a handycam used by the people that attacked the university dorms. This video is a new video and is just leaked out. There is a lot of issues in Iran between the security forces, so this video was leaked somehow."

Win $2500 to help citizens access their government online

You've got to hand it to Uncle Sam - ever since we signed an agreement with the U.S. government to bring all federal agencies onto YouTube, several organizations have been launching video competitions on YouTube. The EPA launched an environmental protection video contest, the HHS asked people to make videos advocating hand-washing to prevent the swine flu - the winner's video went viral, and the Dept. of Education asked students to share the role of education in their lives and gave the winners prizes.

Today, joins the discussion on YouTube with a contest that will award $2500 to the top video that teaches people about all the information they can get about govt. services on their site. is essentially the citizen-facing web arm of the U.S. Govt. - where you can learn about everything from social security to college scholarships. The contest starts today and runs through April 2nd. Find out more here. Remember to be creative - this isn't your grandfather's PSA, it's your chance to bring your govt. into the new world of new media.

YouTube on Fox News - Power Player of the Week

Chris Wallace at Fox News Sunday came to our DC office last week to do a piece for his Sunday show. Every week, FNS does a feature called "Power Player of the Week" - this week, Chris chose YouTube. We had a great conversation with him about politics on the site and how our interview with President Obama came together earlier this month.

Wallace himself is no stranger to YouTube. Before the interview, we chatted about Chris' first big YouTube moment - which was his interview with President Clinton in which Clinton became irked when Wallace pressed him on what more he could have done to go after Osama Bin Laden.

Fox now has a YouTube channel at

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Ask the British Foreign Secretary: Sharing Ideas and Questions Across the Pond

Cross-country communication used to be a far more difficult task -- now, exchanging ideas, questions and feedback across national boundaries is easy. The British Foreign Secretary David Miliband is proving this, with a new exercise called "Global Conversations," in which he's using the new Google Moderator/YouTube integration to solicit user thoughts about the relationship between the United Kingdom and the United States. Hear more from Miliband about this project here:

Specifically, Miliband is interested in hearing your questions about the war in Afghanistan and how to end it. But feel free to fire away here about any aspect of the U.S. - U.K. relationship - it's a storied one, so we're sure you have lots of questions. Miliband is headed to M.I.T. to give a lecture on the subject and will address top-voted ideas there.

Public transportation fight videos: a case study in urban race relations?

If activity on YouTube is any indication, the San Francisco public transportation system seems to be a hot bed for conflict, and the fact that the city's residents are a tech-savvy crowd means that incidents are regularly caught on camera. A quick search on YouTube turns up lots of results. A new video uploaded on Tuesday already has a whopping 1.6 million views at the time of this post.

Last fall, this video of two women fighting on the Stockton route of the San Francisco MUNI (the Bay Area's bus system) went viral practically overnight. It has 870,000 views to date.

Several altercations between the police officers and passengers of the Bay Area's underground railway system, BART, have also been video taped and uploaded to YouTube. Most recently, this violent scuffle between a rowdy BART rider and a BART policeman ended in the two shattering a glass window, badly cutting themselves. Most notoriously, the fatal shooting of a young man named Oscar Grant, whose death was captured on numerous cell phone cameras, spread quickly around the web and YouTube became a virtual town hall in which users expressed their anger and pain and shared their tributes to the fallen Grant.

The video posted yesterday shows two grown men -- one white, one black -- arguing in the back of a MUNI bus in Oakland, California. Things escalate and quickly turn physical while another passenger documents the whole thing on camera. Viewer discretion is advised as some strong language is used and violence breaks out towards the end.

Racial tension appears to have played a key role in this dispute, and many believe that the Oscar Grant shooting in Oakland also revealed racial prejudice; Grant was a young black man who was unarmed and appeared to be doing nothing wrong, and the officer who shot him was white. Many of the response videos uploaded to YouTube questioned whether racism was in play. The video that shows the two women - one Chinese, one black - attacking each other over a free bus seat also makes you cringe; there's so much anger bottled up that suddenly erupts.

Those who have ridden on a public bus as it transports people through the different neighborhoods of San Francisco may have experienced the unique mixing of cultures and classes on public transportation, perhaps unlike any other social forum. We continue to watch as members of the community decide over and over again to document these conflicts and upload them to YouTube so others can watch.

In San Francisco unique in the number of incidents and/or the frequency with which they are captured on camera? How often are racial tensions to blame? Do skirmishes like these happen on public transportation systems everywhere?

We're curious to hear from you.

Update: The older white man featured in the latest MUNI bus video is apparently the same man being tasered by the police in this YouTube video at an Oakland A's baseball game, reports the San Francisco Examiner.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Neda video breaks new ground in journalism, wins Polk Award

Today we learned that the Neda video from the Iranian election protests last summer has won a Polk Award, one of the top prizes in journalism. Usually reserved for innovative and entrepreneurial reporting done by seasoned professionals, the Polk award's nod to the Neda video is a powerful recognition of the role that citizen-generated news coverage has in our understanding of the world.

For those of you who haven't seen it yet, the Neda video was shot by an anonymous source from the streets of Tehran last June, during the protests over the election in Iran. It captures the final, gruesome moments in the life of music student Neda Agha-Soltan, a young female protestor who was shot by the Basij, the Iranian state security force. The video became the symbol of the revolution for Iranian protestors, who covered the events with their cellphone cameras in the absence of the foreign media, who had all been kicked out of the country by the Iranian government.

The original uploader of the Neda video was never discovered, but of course his/her anonymity underscores the whole point of the story. Hundreds of versions of the clip have been uploaded, remixed, and re-broadcast around the world - a testament to the power of the video and the mediums that allowed it to be shared. Here's the most-viewed version of the clip currently on YouTube:

John Darnton, the curator of the Polk awards, said in a statement that the Neda video has become "an iconic image of the Iranian resistance."

"This award celebrates the fact that, in today's world, a brave bystander with a cell phone camera can use video-sharing and social networking sites to deliver news,"

Last year YouTube won a Peabody award, for the role it has played in democratizing media and broadening the political discourse. To see an individual YouTube video win another prestigious journalism honor is sign of the recognition that the established media now affords new platforms that people are using to fundamentally change how we are informed, and how we inform each other.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

500 Videos from Davos Now With Captions

You may have recently seen all of the videos uploaded for the 2010 YouTube Davos Debates. Because the audience for these videos is truly global, we want to make them accessible and available to as many people as possible. We've now added captions for over 500 videos from The Davos Debates. Try a Google search for captioned video on thedavosquestion to see some of the results.

To turn on captions, hover over the arrow-shaped icon in the lower right corner of the YouTube player and click the caption button. Captions on The Davos Debates videos can also be automatically translated right in YouTube: choose "Translate Captions" from the caption menu to try machine translation to 50 different languages.

You can learn more about captions and subtitles here.

Naomi Bilodeau, YouTube Captions team, recently watched, "The YouTube Davos Debate: 'Redesigning an Important Cause'"

Friday, February 12, 2010

The New York Times collects your sickest tricks

The 2010 Winter Olympics kick-off in Vancouver in a few hours, and people from around the world will be watching their favorite athletes make magic in the snow and on the ice. All year, the New York Times has been rounding up some of the most incredible stunts performed by the world's best snowboarders and showcasing them on But recognizing all of the undiscovered talent out there, they invited you to submit your own snowboarding videos -- or in their words, "your sickest tricks" -- via YouTube. We've got to hand it to the Times, they're pretty hip.

You all uploaded some sweet videos, many of which are on display on

Here's a personal favorite, taken outside of this boarder's house in Morgantown, West Virginia, presumably after this week's massive snowstorm on the East Coast.

It's not too late to send your own. Just upload your video as a response video to this one, and it may get featured on

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Republican Rappers get jiggy next to cutout of Ronald Reagan

This is pretty good. A couple of guys calling themselves the Young Cons are taking to YouTube with their Republican raps. A little weird that they dance around a cut-out of Ronald Reagan, but dropping a remix of Reagan quotes into their track makes for a nice touch.

They've got a few other raps on the YouTube channel that are worth a look.

GRAPHIC: Protester shot in the head

Warning, this video, which shows a man shortly after he's been shot, is extremely graphic. Viewer discretion advised.

Hundreds of new protest videos flood YouTube on anniversary of Iranian revolution

Hundreds of fresh protest videos from Iran are appearing on YouTube today, as pro-reform protesters take to the streets in Tehran on the 31st anniversary of the Iranian Revolution. This marks yet another outbreak of protests since the disputed election last June.

Within hours of the protesters hitting the streets of Iran today, videos began streaming onto YouTube that document the large crowds chanting anti-government slogans and violent clashes with anti-riot police forces. Once again, these extraordinary videos provide an exclusive window into what's taking place on the ground, as foreign press have been banned from the country. YouTube remains blocked in Iran, but dissidents are passing videos to friends out of the country and using Internet circumvention technologies to post the footage, according to news reports and correspondence with those on the ground.

We're tracking the videos on Citizentube, and here's a selection that have come in so far today. A playlist can be found here.

A young man is dragged and beaten by members of the Basij police forces:

Protesters face-off against the the police:

Citizens flee from tear gas:

Security forces stand in the streets, armed and ready:

Protests in the Metro in Tehran:

Large groups gather in the streets to demonstrate:

UPDATE: This photo taken by GeoEye at 10:47 AM local time shows downtown Tehran filled with people. You can explore the area using this KML layer in Google Earth.

Olivia Ma, YouTube News & Politics, recently watched "Mass Rallies, Protests in Iran"

Access' Brett Solomon: Citizen media reaches the net despite Iran's lockdown

Back in December, we published a guest post from Brett Solomon, the Executive Director of Access (, an organization that uses crowdsourcing tools and techniques to help political movements mobilize on the web. Given the significance of the 31st anniversary of the Iranian Revolution, Brett is guest blogging for us again today.

- CitizenTube


Citizen media reaches the net despite Iran's lockdown

The fated February 11 Iranian democracy protests, timed with the 31st anniversary of the Iranian Revolution, have begun and with it a blanket of online and offline security clampdowns from the regime.

With reports of gmail being blocked and the internet throttled, the regime was hoping that citizen protest video would not make it online. They had also hoped that the only story would be Ahmadinejad's announcement that Iran would now be enriching uranium to 20% and that it had the capacity to enrich uranium to weapons grade level. To some extent this strategy appears to have worked.

Still, hundreds of clips are already uploaded, showing citizens standing firm against the regime. And importantly, videos demonstrating the naked brutality of the regime are uploaded, as is seen with this man being dragged and beaten by the militia:

In this clip, where you can see protesters and flashes of green, in cities beyond Tehran. This one from Esfahan:

Here we can hear protestors shouting “Marg bar Khamenei” (“Death to Khamenei)

With journalists being restricted to reporting on the Presidents speech, citizens armed only with rocks and mobile phones have been recording their opposition:

This is despite the fact that the Basij are out there in force. This clip showing them in the streets leading to Tehran’s Sadeghiyeh square:

but still the onlyMehdi youtube channel shows demonstrators successfully protesting there:

Reports of street battles have emerged where the militia are preventing protesters from gathering.

More images will stream in today, as the protests develop and the cat and mouse game continues.

- Brett Solomon, Executive Director, Access

Top Curators: the latest from Iran

A few channels to keep an eye on today if you're interested in the latest videos from the protests in Iran. These users are using their channels to aggregate videos from people in Tehran, and most of them upload several new videos every hour.

Police motorcycle lit on fire

Here, large garbage bins have been set on fire and are being used to blockade the streets. A police motorcycle can also be seen lying in flames.

Young man beaten by police on the streets in Tehran

This clip uploaded less than an hour ago shows Iranian riot police beating a young man in the street. The person filming the incident appears to be zoomed in and looking down on the scene from above.

22 Bahman Protests in Iran: Footage coming in

Today marks the 31st anniversary of the Iranian Revolution, and opposition leaders Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi have called for all pro-reform Iranians to join in a mass rally today in Tehran.

The videos have begun to stream into YouTube - a quick search for "22 Bahman Iran" on YouTube is already turning up 319 videos uploaded today.

Protesters appear to be facing off with the police in this clip:

Security forces can be seen standing by:

Pro-reform activitst stomp on a picture of Ayatollah Khomeini:

This video allegedly captures protesters chanting during President Ahmadinejad's speech:

Here's a playlist with some of the other videos that have come in:

Stay tuned for more updates.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

New Challenger Disaster Footage surfaces after 24 years

This fascinating piece of home video, shot on a betamax video camera 24 years ago by an optometrist named Jack Moss, has surfaced on YouTube. A fascinating first-person perceptive of the disaster. Imagine if YouTube had existed back then.

From the video description:

The Florida man who filmed it from his front yard on his new Betamax camcorder turned the tape over to an educational organization a week before he died this past December. The Space Exploration Archive has since published the video into the public domain in time for the 24th anniversary of the catastrophe. Despite being shot from about 70 miles from Cape Canaveral, the shuttle and the explosion can be seen quite clearly. It is unclear why he never shared the footage with NASA or the media. NASA officials say they were not aware of the video, but are interested in examining it now that it has been made available.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

How to report the news

We may be late to the game here (this one's already gone viral), but it's too good to pass up.

If you're an aspiring journalist looking for tips on how to report the news, look no further:

For more how-to videos, check out the YouTube Reporters' Center.

Monday, February 8, 2010

'Free the Hikers' movement gaining steam on YouTube

In late January, we wrote about the online petition started by the siblings of the three American tourists who've been detained in an Iranian prison for the last six months. Alex Fattal, whose brother Josh is one of the three hikers who accidentally crossed over the Iranian border from Iraqi Kurdistan only to be arrested by Iranian police (according to news reports), started an online video petition to put pressure on the Iranian government to free the hikers. Over three dozen videos have come in from across the world, forming a digital narrative that Alex hopes will bring more attention to his case. Even nobel-prize winner Desmond Tutu has gotten involved.

The Iranian government spoke out last week on the case, suggesting a prisoner swap for 11 Iranians being held by the U.S., including a nuclear scientist who disappeared in Saudi Arabia. The Washington Examiner details the exchange here. Not surprisingly, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has rejected the offer saying there is no equivalence in the cases that would warrant such an exchange. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has suggested the three hikers knowingly trespassed onto Iranian soil, something that correspondence with the three hikers at the time of their visit seems to refute.

Alex and his Free the Hikers group continue to collect videos in their petition as the 200-day mark draws near. You can submit yours as a reply to their call-out video below, and you can learn more at If you're not up for making a video, the group has put together this video with suggestions for the "10 things you can do to free the hikers in 2010."

Friday, February 5, 2010

White House staff to do a live follow-up Q&A

In 25 minutes, three White House staffers -- Heather Higginbottom, Domestic Policy Council, Brian Deese, National Economic Council, and Ben Rhodes, National Security Council -- will answer a selection of your top questions that did not get asked in Monday's interview with President Obama.

Tune in to the live webcast on CitizenTube (

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Behind the scenes: Preparing for the Presidential YouTube Interview

Though we couldn't film from within the White House, we did take a few behind-the-scenes clips of our preparation leading up to our YouTube interview this week with President Obama.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Demon Sheep Invade California Senate Primary

We always encourage political campaigns to think outside the box when making YouTube videos - after all, if you want a viral video you have to think a bit differently (just ask Mike Gravel). Carly Fiorina, who is one of the Republican challengers to Barbara Boxer's Senate seat in California, has certainly taken that advice to heart...but did she go too far? You can decide for yourself - here's the latest video from the Fiorina campaign:

The video is certainly memorable and will likely see far more views than any scripted television PSA that they upload to their channel. But does the Fiorina camp want voters to think of men dressed in laser-eyed sheep costumes when they think of their candidate? Also, the man narrating the video has a decidedly East Coast accent - perhaps not the best way to court California voters?

Tom Campbell, Fiorina's opponent who is the subject of the ad, is already fundraising off of this video, saying, "Carly' Fiorina's new ad likens fiscal conservatives to sheep, and Tom to a demon sheep, without mentioning a single federal issue or proposing a single solution to America's economic woes," on this donation page.

Will Fiorina strike back against Campbell with another scintillating sheep video or will she perhaps take a safer, more Plouffian Powerpoint path moving forward?

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The Colorful Questions We Could Have Asked President Obama

We received more than 11,000 questions for yesterday's YouTube interview with President Obama, and while we couldn't ask them all, there were certain particularly amusing questions that we wish we could have asked, if time and circumstances had allowed.

If we had asked them, well...suffice it to say it would have been an even more entertaining interview. The President did agree to do this again, so hopefully we'll have our chance.

Here are our picks for the top 10 most colorful questions posed to President Obama:

1. "For most of my life I was raised in West Philadelphia. Finances forced me to move to Bel Air with my Aunt and Uncle. What are you going to do about areas like the one I lived in?"

- William Smith, Los Angeles

2. "How do you feel about Nancy Peloci capturing our attention with her cat cam, then rick rolling us in the end?"
- Anonymous

3. "Why did you name your dog, Bo, after yourself?"
- Mary Smithiers, Seattle

4. "Why does God hate the Vikings?"
- Depressed, Minnesota

5. "Could you win in a fight against Wolverine? Don't even pretend like you could, you totally can't."
- Jack, Redding, CA

6. Mr. President, when are you going to stop the war between ninjas and pirates? Surely it is in your hands to stop such a crisis. The war has been going for trillions of years and it needs to be put to a halt once and for all."
- Daniel, New Zealand

7. "Do you play World of Warcraft? If yes, which class and faction do you have?"
- Gustaffa, Slovakia

8. "I know I speak for a lot of Americans when I say we love you and believe in you. Do you pinky-swear to try your hardest to push through some of the legislation you talked about last night? Remember: the pinky-swear is binding in court."
- Justin, Carmen Sandiego

9. Mr. President, there is no doubt that you are a busy and stressed man. My question relates to your "down time". I just want to know if you like to go fishing and if so, would it be possible for me to go fishing with you one day?"
- Robert B., Keller, TX

10. "Mr. President, I just want to tell you how I’m feeling, America is not gonna give you up, nor let you down. We are not going to desert you. How do you feel about Internet censorship?"
- Broghan, Virginia

Your Questions for President Obama

Yesterday, President Obama had his first exclusive interview after his State of the Union speech with you, the YouTube community. The President engaged in a direct conversation about a broad range of issues, from generating jobs to opening up the health care process to investments in nuclear energy.

The best part of the process was that it was driven by you. ​Five days ago, as the President began his State of the Union address, we opened up our Moderator platform on CitizenTube, and over 55,000 of you submitted and voted on both video and text questions. Some of them were hard-hitting, others were emotional, and some were even funny.

You can watch the full interview now:

Only able to ask less than 0.2% of the 11,696 questions submitted, it was hard to choose the final handful. Here's how the selection process worked: we tried to cover a range of issues, minimize duplicate questions, and include both video and text submissions. First, we looked at which topics had the highest participation -- like jobs, foreign policy, health care and government reform -- to determine how many questions to ask in each category. We then took the top 5% of video and text questions and picked questions that reflected what you cared about. None of them were chosen by the White House or seen by the President before the interview.

In some cases, we combined questions, grouping similar ones from different categories like health care and government reform:

"Why are the health care meetings, procedures, etc not on CSPAN as promised?" - Mr. Anderson, Texas

"How do you expect the people of this country to trust you when you have repeatedly broken promises that were made on the campaign trail. Most recently, the promise to have a transparent healthcare debate..." - Warren Hunter, Brooklyn
Sometimes the top overall question in the category was a video question:

To try to get as many question in as possible, we had a section called "Good idea/Bad idea" in which we tried to solicit short responses from the President on ideas you sent in that might not be presented to him in traditional interviews. And in all cases, we tried to select the top questions that would solicit conversation, lead to substantive answers, and hadn't been asked in previous programs we've had with the President.

We had many more questions on hand than we had time to deliver, so we're pleased that the White House has agreed to respond to more of the top-voted questions in their blog soon, at

We hope this interview brings us one step closer to creating better access to your government through YouTube -- and we'd love to hear your feedback and any other ideas you have on YouTube's political programming.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Project: Report 2010 – Sharing Your Stories With the World

Today, in partnership with the Pulitzer Center, YouTube presents Project: Report 2010, a journalism contest – made possible by Sony and Intel – for non-professional, aspiring journalists to tell the stories that might not otherwise be covered by the media, and to share those stories with the world.

This year, Project: Report ( will consist of two rounds of competition held over the next three months. In each round, contestants will be given a reporting assignment to complete. After the first round, 10 finalists will be chosen by a panel of judges at the Pulitzer Center. Each finalist will receive a Sony VAIO notebook with the new 2010 Intel Core i7 processor and a Sony HD video camera and proceed to the second and final round, where they will compete for five $10,000 travel fellowships to work with the Pulitzer Center on an international reporting project.

All five winners will also receive invitations to Washington, D.C., for a public screening of their work and the chance to participate in a special workshop with Pulitzer Center journalists.

Arturo Perez, Jr., the winner of the first edition of Project: Report, traveled to Jerusalem and worked with the Pulitzer Center to produce a story on dialogue between Palestinians and Israelis.

Watch the first installment of his video diary from the trip:

Do you have a story you want to tell?

Here's the assignment for Round 1 of Project: Report 2010:

Document a single day in the life of a compelling person the world should meet and showcase how that person is making a positive impact in his or her community. All videos must be three minutes or less, and submissions will be open through February 28, 2010.

Even if you do not participate in or advance past Round 1, you may still complete the assignment for Round 2, though you will not be eligible for the grand prize. YouTube and the Pulitzer Center hope to highlight and bring an audience to as many of your stories as possible.

So, without further ado, it's time to pick up that video camera, take on this assignment, and start reporting your stories to the world.

Your Interview With the President: Live at 1:45 pm ET

Today at 1:45 pm EST, President Obama will participate in a unique interview at the White House in which you get to ask the questions - and have a say in which questions will be asked. For the past five days, since the President's State of the Union speech, people across the country have been submitting and voting on video and text questions in our Moderator platform on CitizenTube. Looking at your votes, we've scoured through the top tier of the over 11,000 questions - and we'll bring as many as we can to the President today. The event will be live-streamed on CitizenTube (

Neither the President nor his staff will know which questions will asked ahead of time. But what's clear from looking at the submissions is that they represent a broad cross-section of topics and concerns. When people are asked to weigh in on what matters most to them in an open forum, the result is a fascinating and informative look at the pulse of the country. It's this kind of transparency and direct access to information that we believe represents the promise of platforms like YouTube to improve our politics.

The President hasn't taken an interview since his State of the Union address last week, so you will be the first to ask him follow-up questions after his speech. Don't miss this opportunity to participate in your democracy - tune in today at 1:45 pm EST on

Steve Grove, Head of News & Politics, recently watched "The 2010 State of the Union Address"