Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Tech and media convergence on display with CNN/YouTube Democratic Debate

In an exemplary display of media and technology convergence, more than 1,700 videos were put on YouTube’s site for today’s CNN debate among Democratic candidates. CNN picked some 25 to 30 of the questions which aired tonight on the two-hour debate, moderated by CNN’s Anderson Cooper. Questions ranged from health care, Social Security, and global warming to U.S. foreign policy. Some were serious, and others were not.

According to CNN director Sam Feist, the network decided to hold a YouTube debate in part to highlight the enormous impact the Internet has on politics. “Clearly the YouTube phenomenon is the perfect opportunity to merge new media and old media in a presidential debate,” he said, adding that the unpredictable nature of the questions will make it harder for candidates to prepare. Feist said the questions were asked by a diverse group of people -- of all ages and from across the country and several foreign nations. He said he was surprised by the quality of the questions and that there were not more about the Iraq war.

The Republican debate will air on September 17. Questions can be posted on YouTube at http://youtube.com/debates.