YouTube and CNN Democratic Presidential Debates

July 24, 2007

CNN recently aired a debate where the Democratic candidate hopefuls answered questions asked by YouTube users. I checked out several of the YouTube videos on YouTube and the candidate’s responses on CNN.

A side note: the recent CNN website redesign is pretty slick. The site is a lot cleaner and user friendly, and it’s great that they’ve finally allowed their vast amounts of video content for anybody to view.

I have to admit when I first heard about this YouTube user question idea, it sounded pretty gimmicky. And after checking out the questions, I was rather scratching my head and whether or not this was going to be worth watching.

However, seeing the questions in conjunction with the candidates’ answers is where it began to make sense. The YouTube questions were shown on a video screen in one corner of the stage and the candidates were allowed to answer in their own words. I thought most of the candidates elaborated surprisingly well on the short questions provided, from which I was able to get a better sense of who they were and what they stood for – which is ultimately all one can ask for in this mass media tradition called a “debate.”

As an experiment in a new way to handle a political debate and opening it up to “You” – I felt it was very successful. This was a really good melding of new and old media.

Just to show a contrary point of view, Jeff Jarvis was disappointed, after liveblogging the event. He did have high hopes for the format.

Additional Reading: WebWare, Read / Write Web, New York Times, Random Mumblings


  1. I thought it was cool.
    It made it a lot more fun to blog about, that’s for sure.