YouTube Given Important Role In New Zealand Politics

    September 30, 2008

One nice result of the U.S. economy’s implosion has been the news coverage of something other than American politics.  But then the blame game begins, so to remove ourselves even further from McCain-Obama bickering, we can look to YouTube’s latest project: the ONE News YouTube Election Debate.

This debate should effectively immerse New Zealand’s most prominent politicians in the world of online video.  Prime Minister Helen Clark and John Key, her leading opponent, will have to face questions posed by New Zealand-based YouTube users.  What’s more, their debate will be broadcast live (on October 14th).

YouTube Election

Users are being asked to submit creative clips lasting no more than 30 seconds.  Some combination of organizer screening and public voting will be used to select the winners.

Since this setup is obviously patterned after the old CNN/YouTube debates, it may act as a long-delayed sign of success.  It might even function as an escalation of the experiment, since a post on the Official Google Blog notes, "This marks the first time the head of a national government and a challenger will face YouTube video questions in an official live TV debate."

Regardless, it’s interesting to see YouTube strengthen its relationship with what might be considered a mature subject and audience.  And any Kiwis who were trying to avoid their national political scene have our sincere apologies.