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Everyday on the CitizenTube channel (and @CitizenTube on Twitter), along with our curation partners @storyful, we look at how the top news stories are covered on YouTube. Each week we post a weekly recap of the top news stories of the week, as seen through the lens of both citizen-reported footage and professional news coverage.
Come back to see the news unfold on YouTube.

Olivia Ma, YouTube News & Politics, recently watched "Sandstorm."

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As a devastating famine continues to spread across the Horn of Africa, news outlets, nonprofits and musicians are turning to YouTube to raise awareness and funds for the more than 12 million people who are in severe need of food and water. We wanted to share with you an overview of the situation as we’re seeing it on YouTube, as well as several ways you can get involved.

News of the famine
According to the AFP, the Horn of Africa is facing the worst drought in over 60 years and tens of thousands of people have already died as a result. This video from the AFP YouTube channel offers a overview of the situation:



Nonprofits are also using video to share the voices of those afflicted with the world. Here’s a video diary from a World Food Program worker who is stationed in Dadaab, an area in Kenya near the Somali border experiencing the brunt of the crisis:



How you can help
The WFP’s videos currently all feature a direct link you can click to donate to relief efforts. Other organizations like UNICEF and Doctors Without Borders are also producing videos that help explain the extent of suffering caused by the famine.

Global nonprofit Save the Children has even teamed up with a host of Universal Music Group artists like Lady Gaga, Kanye West and Coldplay to launch the “I’m Gonna Be Your Friend” campaign to help. The featured video on the Bob Marley YouTube channel supports this campaign, and you can donate to the “I’m Gonna Be Your Friend” campaign here.

To stay updated with the latest news on this crisis, visit our CitizenTube channel where we are watching for all of the latest video from this region.

Ramya Raghavan, News and Politics Manager, recently watched “Dadaab: Get There or Die Trying.”

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Editor’s note: Steve was part of a Google/YouTube delegation that went to Afghanistan two weeks ago to examine the state of media and web content in Afghanistan, and to explore opportunities to improve the country’s access to Google products and platforms.

When Pari Akbar started her blog, Millaad, to address women’s issues in Afghanistan, she had no idea it would lose her her job. But as the young Afghan blogger slowly built an audience for topics ranging from the fundamental (voting rights for women) to the academic (the linguistic repression of women through semantic structures in Dari) she began to draw the ire of her co-workers at her government job in Kabul. Though they had no formal authority to do so, many of them told her to stop blogging. When she wouldn’t, the physical threats began. Soon, Akbar didn’t feel safe at work anymore -- but she didn’t want to stop publishing. She left her secure government job and kept on writing.

Akbar was one of about a dozen bloggers we met on a recent tour of Afghanistan, sponsored by the Department of Defense, to examine the content landscape in the region and look for ways to develop and promote more local media in the country. Her story is emblematic of the country’s efforts to develop a media sector since the Taliban left power. A new class of journalists and media entrepreneurs are flooding the market, working to hold the Afghan government accountable and build Afghanistan’s Fourth Estate -- but formal and informal challenges remain.

While the Taliban is no longer hanging TVs from trees in an attempt to intimidate people from consuming media, journalistic freedom remains a challenge in Afghanistan. In 2009, the Karzai government passed a media law that forbids any coverage of events that “jeopardizes national security”, a vaguely-worded edict that allows the government to shut down any media coverage they don’t like; which they did, for example, in the wake of protests following the parliamentary elections last fall. Most journalists we met with in Kabul and Herat expressed frustration over the challenges they face in covering the Afghan government; there is simply not a culture of a free press in Afghanistan yet.

There is, however, a tremendous thirst for information. 90% of people listen to the radio every day, and even though only 30% of Afghans have electricity, 60% say they watch television daily (using generators or community viewing locations). The clear media leader on broadcast is ToloTV, a network run by an entrepreneurial Afghan named Saad Mohensi who has strong ties to American media and has built an impressive news network with 60% market share in just 5 years. “We see part of our job as facilitating social change,” says Mohensi. One of his most popular programs is “Afghan Star”, a local version of “American Idol” and has produced great local talent and grown a sizable audience.



The U.S. government has moved to support Afghan media enterprises with funding for programming from the State Department and USAID. In some cases, that means directly funding programs that promote values critical to building a strong Afghan society, such as the ToloTV drama, “Eagle Four”, a knock-off of the “24” that features corruption-fighting cops. In other cases, it means funding media efforts intended to build local news organizations from the ground up. Internews, a global nonprofit focused on media growth, has a 22 million dollar grant from USAID to develop a series of multimedia centers across Afghanistan in 2011, teaching Afghan journalists about the web and how to use it. Internews biggest success has been their radio network, Salam Watandar (“Hello, Countrymen”), which broadcasts from 43 local stations across the country. One of its most popular shows, “Seek and Search”, is essentially a Google call-in show: viewers call in with questions, which the hosts (who have broadband access) type into Google and then deliver the answer over the air.


Salam Watandar, or “Hello, Countrymen!”, a program of the U.S. nonprofit Internews

The greenfield for media development is the web. However, broadband access is both paltry and exorbitantly expensive: estimates put penetration at about 1%, and the cost is $2,000 per megabit, making the web prohibitively expensive for most Afghan families. A new fiber optic backbone is currently under construction that should alleviate that somewhat, so long as the telcos pass along the savings to consumers. Foreign investors are taking notice of the opportunities in the Afghan IT sector, pouring $1.6 billion into the marketplace, more than any other industry in the country.

After decades of war, Afghanistan is a splintered nation and Afghans have come to expect inconsistency. The Internet, and a strong media, has a unique opportunity to bring Afghans together around a shared identity and an understanding of the opportunities they have to engage the world and the global economy.

Steve Grove, YouTube News and Politics, recently watched "Afghan Star Finals - Shekib Hamdard."

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It’s been hard to open a laptop or turn on the television over the last week without hearing news of the unrest in Egypt. On YouTube, thousands of videos of the protests have poured in, whether as unfiltered footage from the demonstrations themselves, or as news reports from our media partners around the globe.

We understand how closely the world is following these events, and want to help people access and share this information quickly and easily on YouTube. We’re helping people do this in three ways:
  • Highlighting the latest footage on CitizenTube, our news and politics channel, and inviting people to submit video they’ve come across.
  • Pointing our users directly to these videos through banners at the top of YouTube pages, and through links alongside YouTube videos.
  • Streaming live coverage of Al Jazeera’s broadcasts about the unfolding events, on both their Arabic and English YouTube channels.
And our Google colleagues have also turned on a speak-to-tweet service to help people in Egypt stay connected at this difficult time.

Here’s a playlist of videos that have come in:



YouTube has used similar tools and live streaming technologies in the past to give our users access to information on major world news events, such as the Haiti earthquake and the protests in Iran. We hope this footage provides a unique window into the events unfolding in the streets of Cairo, Alexandria and many other cities across Egypt.

Olivia Ma, YouTube News and Politics, recently watched “28th Jan. 2011 - Storyful - Kasr Al Nile Bridge clashes.

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There is perhaps no other country in the world that has undergone more change or been under more scrutiny in the past decade than Iraq. The draw-down of U.S. troops and a recent election that has yet to produce a formal government have left Iraq in a state of flux. The country’s destiny has implications not just for the Arab world, but for the world at large.

That’s why, in partnership with the Arabic-language television network, Al Arabiya, we’re launching “Iraq Looks Forward,” a series of interviews on YouTube in which Iraqi leaders answer your questions about the future of the country. This is your chance to engage directly with top Iraqi officials, so visit youtube.com/alarabiya to submit your questions and vote on which you think should be asked.





A selection of the top-voted questions will be posted to sitting Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki, the Prime Minister of the Kurdistan region of Iraq, Barham Salih, and others.

The deadline for submitting questions is Monday, September 27.

Olivia Ma, News Manager, recently watched “Tony Blair on Iraq and Iran - The View

Update: Former sitting Prime Minister Ayad Allawi has also confirmed his participation in this interview series.

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Five years ago today, Hurricane Katrina made landfall on the Gulf Coast region, crashing through the levees that held the waters of the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet at bay from the city of New Orleans. Overnight, 80 percent of New Orleans was submerged. To this day, only a fraction of residents in the hardest hit areas, like the Lower Ninth Ward, have returned to their homes.

Today, in partnership with ABC 26 (WGNO), a local television station in New Orleans, we commemorate the anniversary of Katrina with a selection of videos on our homepage from New Orleans residents.

Many of you have taken this anniversary as an occasion to upload videos to YouTube about the disaster and where things stand today, from never-before-seen footage shot in 2005 of the hurricane itself to stories of what it was like to leave your home of more than 50 years behind.

Some videos showed how much work is left to be done, like this one from the Ninth Ward, narrated by a resident returning home to survey the damage five years later:



Others discovered relics left behind but not forgotten:



And some chose to honor their city and its resilient spirit through song:



If you lived through Hurricane Katrina, we still welcome your reflections. Please submit your videos using YouTube Direct on ABC 26’s website. A selection of videos will also be featured on abc26.com, ABC 26’s YouTube channel, and broadcast on ABC 26 (WGNO).

Olivia Ma, News Manager, recently watched “Rebirth Brass Band: Do Watcha Wanna (in the French Quarter)

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Five years ago, on August 29, Hurricane Katrina began battering the Gulf Coast region, destroying homes, schools and businesses, and submerging the city of New Orleans under water. The deadly hurricane claimed over a thousand lives, left hundreds of thousands without homes, and caused tens of billions of dollars worth of damage, amounting to one of the worst natural disasters in the history of the United States. Despite these challenges, the resilient spirit of the Big Easy has helped the city and its residents rebound and rebuild.

In 9 days we will commemorate the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina with a collection of videos on the YouTube homepage created by New Orleans area residents. In partnership with ABC 26 (WGNO), a local television station in New Orleans, we invite Gulf Coast region residents to reflect on the five years since Katrina and submit videos using YouTube Direct on ABC 26’s website. A selection of videos will also be featured on abc26.com, ABC 26’s YouTube channel, and broadcast on ABC 26.



Did you live through Hurricane Katrina and have a story to share? Upload your video here: http://www.abc26.com/community/rememberingkatrina

Olivia Ma, News Manager, recently watched “Vaccarella Family - Hurricane Katrina

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It’s been 71 days since the offshore drilling rig Deepwater Horizon exploded in the Gulf of Mexico, causing the largest offshore oil spill in U.S. history. Since then, we’ve used our platforms to make sure that people can watch and participate in real time, access all the latest information on the crisis and response and share concerns through various programs and initiatives.

Now we’re teaming up with PBS NewsHour to take you to BP headquarters in Houston for an exclusive interview with Bob Dudley, President and CEO of BP’s Gulf Coast Restoration Organization. In a live session moderated by the PBS NewsHour’s Ray Suarez, Mr. Dudley will respond directly to your questions.



Now is your chance to ask BP questions on accountability, the clean-up plan, recovery efforts in the Gulf Region, environmental impact, the status of the relief well drilling, the role of the U.S. government, the future of offshore drilling and of BP as a company.

Using Google Moderator on youtube.com/citizentube, submit your questions and vote the best ones to the top. Then join us for the live interview tomorrow, Thursday, July 1, at 3:30 pm ET/12:30 pm PT on CitizenTube. Portions of the interview will also be aired Thursday evening on the PBS NewsHour and available on YouTube.

Early on, we partnered with NewsHour to bring you a live stream of the oil gushing into the waters of the Gulf. On June 15, we streamed President Obama’s Oval Office address on the oil spill crisis on CitizenTube. After the President’s speech, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs answered questions submitted by YouTube users, who cast nearly 200,000 votes to select the top questions from 7,000+ submitted.

We hope that these various opportunities to engage and participate in a current event help you and fellow citizens stay more informed and have your voice heard.

Olivia Ma, YouTube News Manager, and Ginny Hunt, Google Public Sector Manager

Posted:
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 (http://youtube.com/projectreport) 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.

Olivia Ma, YouTube News and Politics, recently watched “Doctors Uses Music Therapy With Children".

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Project: Report is an annual contest that celebrates some of the best work being done by aspiring journalists on YouTube.  Journalism, like documentary filmmaking, is about telling the world's untold stories, which is why the Screening Room will be hosting a series of short docs offering a voice to those who might not otherwise be heard, starting with a new film from last year's Project: Report winner, Arturo Perez, Jr.

  • "Jerusalem: War in My Land" looks at the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as told through the eyes of a young Jew and a young Muslim.
  • "Salim Baba" tells the story of Salim Muhammad, who makes his living using a hand-cranked projector to screen discarded film scraps for the kids in his surrounding neighborhoods. It was nominated for the 2008 Academy Award for Best Documentary Short.
  • In "One of the Last", a 78-year-old Italian farmer picks olives, grapes, cherries, and wonders why anybody would want to do anything else.
  • After 23 brain surgeries and suffering a debilitating condition called hydrocephalus, 12 year-old Luke Casey has become a survivor who's gentle spirit and mature soul is an inspiration to everyone he meets in "Bob Seger Rocks".

Starting today, you also have the opportunity to watch the Round 2 submissions from each of the 10 Project: Report semi-finalists and vote on your favorites. 

Enjoy the films,

Nate Weinstein, Entertainment Marketing Associate, just watched "Banksy's Exit Through the Gift Shop."

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[Cross-posted from the Google Public Policy Blog]

It’s not every day that you get to ask your country’s leader questions about issues you care about. But that’s exactly what Canadians did this afternoon when Prime Minister Stephen Harper sat down with YouTube.

Roughly 170,000 votes were cast through Google Moderator for nearly 1,800 questions -- giving voice to thousands of Canadians. And don’t think that these were softball questions. Canadians asked their Prime Minister questions on a wide variety of important topics: from the deficit to Canada’s role in Afgahistan, from child care to protecting pensions. We tried to select questions that represented the most popular topics and would solicit conversation. (We also minimized duplicate questions so we could cover a range of issues.) Neither the Prime Minister nor his office knew in advance which questions he’d be asked.

You can see the Prime Minister respond to your questions in this video:



Prime Minister Harper is the second world leader to answer your questions in a YouTube Interview. It’s your appetite for political discussion on YouTube that creates these opportunities to access public leaders in this format, and we look forward to conducting more YouTube Interviews soon.

Posted by Jacob Glick, Google Canada Policy Counsel

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From its beginning, YouTube has been a place where citizens come to have political conversations, and Canada has been no exception. From interviews with Cabinet Ministers to campaign discussions to in-depth news reports, Canadians have used the site to engage with their elected officials in ways previously not possible. Prime Minister Stephen Harper himself has shared videos on his Prime Minister channel, including his CTV interview at the Olympics, his performance with Yo-Yo Ma, and several Parliamentary speeches.

Now you can speak directly with Canadian Prime Minister Harper in an exclusive YouTube interview. Tomorrow, March 11, we'll be streaming the Prime Minister’s response to the Speech from the Throne at approximately 10:45 a.m. EST. It’s a major policy speech for the Prime Minister about his vision for the future of Canada. You can watch it at youtube.com/talkcanada, and submit your follow-up questions for him in video or text - and vote on your favourites.

Prime Minister Harper will then answer a selection of your top-voted questions in a YouTube interview this Tuesday, March 16 at 7pm EST. If you're wondering how it will work, take a look at our recent interview with U.S. President Barack Obama.

Take this chance to submit and vote for questions you want to be answered - in English or French. We prefer video questions (short and precise) if possible. This is your chance to ask the Prime Minister about the Speech from the Throne or the recent federal Jobs and Growth budget. We look forward to your questions.

Posted by Patrick Pichette, Senior Vice President & Chief Financial Officer, Google
--

Les citoyens, dont les Canadiens, ont fréquenté YouTube dès ses tout premiers débuts afin d’y parler politique. Il suffit de penser aux entrevues avec des ministres, aux campagnes de toutes sortes et aux reportages fouillés. Le premier ministre Stephen Harper a lui-même publié des vidéos sur le canal du premier ministre, notamment son entrevue avec CTV aux Jeux olympiques, sa performance avec Yo-Yo Ma et plusieurs discours parlementaires.

Vous pourrez vous adresser directement au premier ministre dans le cadre d'une entrevue exclusive sur YouTube. Demain, le 11 mars vers 10h45 (HNE), nous diffuserons en continu la réponse du premier ministre au discours du Trône. Vous pourrez le regarder sur youtube.com/talkcanada et poser des questions en format vidéo ou texte ainsi que voter pour vos questions préférées.

Ensuite, dans une entrevue YouTube le mardi 16 mars à 19 h (HNE), le premier ministre répondra à des questions sélectionnées parmi celles ayant accumulé le plus de votes. Pour vous faire une idée du processus, allez jeter un coup d’œil à notre entrevue récente avec le président américain Barack Obama.

Profitez de cette formidable occasion pour poser vos questions et voter pour celles qui, selon vous, devraient être sélectionnées, et en anglais et en français. On préfère que vos questions soient soumises en format vidéo, courtes et précises, si possible. Ne ratez surtout pas cette chance de demander des précisions au premier ministre au sujet du discours du Trône ou du budget de 2010. On a hâte de recevoir vos questions.

Posté par Patrick Pichette, Vice-président senior et chef de la direction financière, Google

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If you're reading this, then you're probably on the Internet -- via your laptop, your mobile phone or other handheld device, or maybe even through your television. But in 2010, millions of Americans still do not have access to the wealth of information made available on the Web. Even though the Internet was invented in the U.S. over 20 years ago, many Americans lag behind in both access to the Internet and speed of connections, which is why the Federal Communications Commission (or the FCC, the federal agency that oversees the U.S. communications industry) is launching its much-anticipated National Broadband Plan next Tuesday, to lay out its strategy for connecting all Americans to fast, affordable high-speed Internet.

After this plan is announced, you have the opportunity to interview FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski, in the second of a series of in-person YouTube interviews with government leaders. (Our first, with United States President Barack Obama, took place last month.) Go to CitizenTube today to submit your video or text question via Google Moderator, and vote on your favorites; we'll bring a selection of the top-voted questions to Chairman Genachowski in our interview next Tuesday, March 16. The deadline for submission is Sunday night March 14 at 11:59 p.m. PT.

To help structure our conversation with the Chairman, we've broken the interview down into seven topics. To learn more about what the FCC is doing in each area, click on the links next to each topic below. Then submit your question on CitizenTube under one of the topic headings.
Access to the Internet has transformed almost every aspect of our economy and society. This is your chance to press the FCC on how the National Broadband Plan will work, and ask your questions about improving the Internet in America. We're looking forward to seeing your questions and hearing what the Chairman has to say.

Steve Grove, Head of News and Politics, recently watched "The Internet in 1969".

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On Sunday, despite as many as 100 bomb blasts throughout the country, according to news reports, Iraqi citizens flocked to the polls in higher-than-expected numbers to vote in the first nationwide parliamentary election since 2005. Amidst 38 confirmed casualties, Iraqi citizens from 18 different provinces inside Iraq -- as well as 16 other countries around the world -- cast their ballots to determine who will fill the Prime Minister's office and 325 seats in the nation's parliament.

What is it like to be an Iraqi citizen during this important and volatile time in the nation's history? We partnered with Al Jazeera English to find out, by collecting opinions directly from Iraqi voters on video in our "Iraqi Voices" project. The footage is still coming in as the votes are counted, but you can go to Al-Jazeera's YouTube Channel to see the playlist of content uploaded to YouTube so far. (If you'd like to put things in perspective, you can compare these clips to the ones we collected from American voters during the 2008 election in our Video Your Vote platform with PBS.)

One Iraqi got to the polls at 5 a.m. only to find out that his name was not on the list:



This video documents the actual voting experience in Iraq:



And this woman explains why she will not vote in this year's election:



If you're from Iraq or have thoughts about the Iraqi elections, upload your videos to the Al-Jazeera website (http://interactive.aljazeera.net/iraqelections) using YouTube Direct and your video might be shown on television.

Olivia Ma, News & Politics Manager, recently watched "التصويت الخاص للجيش (محمد الصالح" (with subtitles)

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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."

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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 (youtube.com/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 Leader John 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."

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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"

Posted:
Today, 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 whitehouse.gov.

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.

Steve Grove, Head of News & Politics, recently watched, "The YouTube Interview with President Obama"

Posted:

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 (www.youtube.com/projectreport) 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.

Olivia Ma, News & Politics Manager, recently watched “Project Report: What the Pulitzer Center is looking for"

Posted:
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 (youtube.com/citizentube)

Neither the President nor his staff will know which questions will be 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 youtube.com/citizentube.

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