"YouTube plays party politics"
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CNET News Video
CNET News Video
YouTube plays party politics
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>> At both the Democratic and Republican conventions, YouTube sponsored this upload booth. I caught up with Steve Grove, the YouTube Head of News and Politics in Denver to find out why this company wanted to have such a presence at these political events. Tell me about YouTube's presence at this year's convention. This is obviously your first round of convention.
>> It is, yeah. YouTube actually didn't even exist back 2004 when the last convention hit. So, now we're actually the official online video provider for the convention and we're here at the Pepsi Center helping people upload their video nominations of Barack Obama. So delegates, party leaders, officials, guests, they come on by and they can hop in here and do a quick video nomination on Barack Obama and we upload straight to YouTube and it's hub to all of our conventions channel which is YouTube.com/2008conventions.
>> And how many of these stations do you have around downtown Denver?
>> So we have YouTube station here at the Pepsi Center and then we have one over in the big tent, which is where all the bloggers are congregating. We also have a place on Studio '08, which is where the democratic leaders come to do their satellite hits around the country. So we kind of catch them at behind the scenes there as well. Then finally, we're actually backstage over the front or beyond of the podium over there, so when the speakers come off the podium, they can do sort of a quick, kind of behind the scenes YouTube hit as well. Try to give, sort of like a 360 degree view of the convention on YouTube.
>> What are the numbers that you're going for, how many, of these little videos that you are hoping to collect by the end of the four-days?
>> Well, we didn't really have a goal frankly, but we did have over a hundred in the very first day. I think that this event is tremendously popular really, I think, people come by, they see the opportunity to actually do something political that they can go look out later online, and so it's really been neat and the spectrum is really been quite wide. Everyone from the youngest delegate who's here, who was from Ohio to, you know, Mark Warner who stopped by and did a quick video. So we're seeing a nice broad reach of people coming here to participate.
>> What do you think, they speaks to. I mean like and this is an interesting question I guess about YouTube in general that people obviously want to broadcast themselves and that convergence between that need to see themselves and also politics, you know it's an interesting marriage that's going on right here.
>> It is. You know, YouTube never set out to be a political platform, but I think it is a place where people can go to express their opinions. And political issues are issues that people have opinions about and so, you know, YouTube doesn't have any real editors, you don't have to be invented by the mainstream media, you can just go online and have your say and I think that has a lot of appeal to people. It's so much easier today to be empowered to speak your voice online and be heard and you know, it can reach your falling suits, so you know, Barack Obama has his own YouTube channel, John McCain has his own YouTube channel. They're essentially creating their own television stations around their campaigns using YoiuTube to disseminate those messages out to voters across the country and really kind of build buzz with their campaigns online.
>> Can you just like highlight some of those, you know, how YouTube maybe helps get the message across and change the course of history.
>> Well, I think, YouTube probably just actually really born back in 2006 Mid-term elections. A senator from Virginia, George Allen was caught on tape saying something he probably shouldn't have said. It was a racial slur and that moment really many people have said led to his loss in the Virginia Senate election and really kind of was the birth of YouTube politics signifying that citizens could hold their politicians accountable for what they've said via cell phone cameras, camcorders and whatever, upload it to YouTube and get massive exposure and really hold their politicians accountable, you know, candidates saw that. They understood that so many eyeballs were online watching these videos and said, you know what we need to be there too. And so we saw 7 of the 16 presidential candidates actually announced their candidacies on YouTube and spread those videos around the web as a sign that they were, you know in the race. And then I think throughout the election we've seen -- really YouTube reach a critical mass. I mean, you've seen a ton of portable gadget videos that used to be surprising when you saw George Allen's Macaca video hit the internet. Now we see a catchy video almost every couple of days, whether it's John Edwards combing his hair for too long or John McCain singing boom-boomerang or Bill Clinton talking about something really in regards to Obama and race that South Carolina might not have wanted him to say. For a politician to live in the 21st century, they need to understand how to use YouTube, what its benefits are, what its pitfalls are and really what a driving force now is and really catalyzing political information and really developing I think the grassroots of media today.
>> Over these two weeks, Steve tells me that more than a 1,000 videos have been created and uploaded to YouTube site. In Saint Paul I'm Kara Tsuboi, CNET.com.
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