Will Raymond, known online as WillR, has taken citizen coverage of local politics to the next level. He’s used a popular form of content creation on the web called video blogging. He didn’t record what his kids are up to but a local Judges forum and then put it on his weblog. Sadly local judicial politics is an area many people don’t know much about. To fill in the gaps of our knowledge many people just take a little piece of paper from the Indy to the polls. Video blogging politics is a great way to quickly share information with millions of people. Most likely this bit of video will only be important to thousand or so people who live in Orange and Chatham Counties. Maybe that’s all that really matters.
Some vloggers, a person who produces a video blog, have refined their work to a high level of quality with a fun new edge. (ex. Minnesota Stories vlogger Chuck Olsen, Much Respect!) But what’s really important about video blogs and politics is the raw information of the event. If and when TV coverage of local political events exists its edited down to sound bites. Sounds bites are easily manipulated and rarely get all the important information out to the people. This is especially problematic when a voter knows little to nothing about candidates in a obscure, but important race. We need MORE information to vote so democracy can work properly.
As to the quality of WillR’s videos: Broadcast quality is NOT required. This was his first attempt. He’ll get better at it I’m sure. I applaud him for his effort. Hell small video quality has jumped light years ahead in quality in ten years.
While easier and faster than producing a traditional TV show segment vlogging isn’t simple. It takes time to learn the production and post-production process. As viewers one thing we shouldn’t allow ourselves to get in our way is an out dated idea of video aesthetics. Just get a tripod Will and keep doing what your doing. 🙂
As to the quantity of the video: WillR shot a lot of video. Its hard to watch it all much less understand what it means. We still need people who enjoy watching hours of local political coverage to aggregate and distill it and tell us what it all means. Most especially we need to TRUST these people. Don’t trust someone else to edit video of an event? Do it yourself. It really isn’t that hard.
What happens if a local citizen vlogger captures a moment that becomes important latter? Have you heard about George Allen’s “macaca” slur? [Video] Welllll a young man of Indian decent taped Allen hurling this racial slur at him. The short video was put on the web and became very popular. This “consumer quality” video even became a big news story. We’ll see if this video will have and affect on Allen’s campaign. Some say it already has.
My point isn’t that we need to capture all the dirt we can on people running for office. Its that sometimes things happen in public that the WHOLE electorate needs to see. Take council meetings for example. Many times our elected officials do things on our behalf that many of us never know about. True much of its on community access TV. Yeah some communities stream video of meetings and archive it. But it comes back to a person you trust to edit the important parts. Someone who will bother to go to forums and council meetings. The main stream media sure doesn’t seem to go. Even if they did I lost my trust in many of them long ago.
With more online video about local politics I hope more people will vote and become civically involved. Remember elections are often decided by a small percentage of votes. Sometimes less than a hundred votes can decide who wins and who looses. It isn’t hard to organize a hundred people. Do you really want so few people having so much control of your life?
[To give you an idea of the popularity and importance of video online, Google just paid over one Billion dollars for popular video hosing service YouTube.]
I wish I had more time to do this… 😀