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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

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Captioning is becoming increasingly important to YouTube and videos all across the web. Captions ensure that many more people can understand what's happening in your video, from deaf and hard of hearing viewers to people who speak a different language from you and choose to auto-translate the captions into their language. Captions also make your video a lot more discoverable. People searching for content on YouTube might encounter your video if your captions contain the words or subjects they're looking for.

You may be able to manage creating captions for your videos on your own, but sometimes you have too many videos or your video has elements that need special care. Today, thanks to support from the Described and Captioned Media Program (DCMP.org), we're pleased to roll out a new "YouTube Ready" designation for professional caption vendors in the United States. The YouTube Ready logo identifies qualified vendors who can help you caption your YouTube videos.


If you're interested in having your videos captioned, here's DCMP's current list of YouTube Ready vendors who may be able to help. Please keep in mind that participating vendors:
  • Have passed a caption quality evaluation administered by the DCMP
  • Have a website and a YouTube channel where you can learn more about their services (see playlist below)
  • Have agreed to post rates for the range of services that they offer for YouTube content. Typical rates range from $2/minute for a transcript to $10/minute for full professional captions.
The first launch of the program includes 12 qualified vendors, with more to come. We're happy to have them on board, and hope they'll help to provide even more options for captioning your videos. If you're interested in finding a YouTube Ready caption vendor, check out our Help Center or visit DCMP's page.
 


Naomi Bilodeau, Caption Evangelist, recently watched "Deaf Mugger."

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YouTube’s video gamers have spoken. First, they were treated to four days of live streaming from the gaming industry’s annual trade show, E3. The coverage elicited over 30,000 comments on the channel, as enthusiasts gave shout-outs to their favorite games, characters and platforms. They were also able to vote on their favorite E3 game trailer, which turned out to be this:



Congratulations to “Disney/Pixar Toy Story 3: The Video Game”! To see the other trailers in the top three, check out the E3 channel, and don’t forget to subscribe so you’ll get notified when we launch our 2011 coverage -- because it’s never too soon to be thinking about where the gaming industry will take thumb-numbing action next.

Mark Day, Gaming Manager, recently watched “Amazing Fire Animation!

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Do you ever wonder how to find music you’re allowed to use in your videos? Have you had a video blocked due to unauthorized use of music? Well, we are happy to show our support for a new site called FriendlyMusic. FriendlyMusic gives YouTube users the option of purchasing a lifetime license to edit a song into their video. How does this work? Go to www.friendlymusic.com and browse through their catalog of pre-cleared music for YouTube. You then have the option to purchase an mp3 and download the track. Once you download it, the track is yours and subject to your creativity. Add it to a YouTube video, create a mash-up with, or add it onto the existing audio in your YouTube video. Videos with Friendly Music soundtracks are licensed for unlimited views for the life of the video all over the world.

Since its launch, YouTube has pioneered ways for users to get professional music into their videos while respecting copyright -- and generating revenue and promotion for artists, songwriters, and music companies. Through Content ID and a series of unprecedented deals with music labels and publishers, we’ve turned user-made music videos into a business opportunity as well as a form of expression. With Audioswap, we built a library of songs you can drop right into your existing YouTube uploads. And with countless artists, we’ve hosted DIY music-video contests and film festivals.

To be clear, many of the FriendlyMusic tracks are still available for free in Audioswap. What’s new is that the FriendlyMusic store offers you up-front reassurance that specific songs are pre-cleared for your video -- plus the ability to edit those songs in your own video editing tools, at the point of creation. This marks the first time a music company has offered YouTube users a direct license. We’re excited about it and we hope you are too.

Try it out and let us know what you think.

Ali Sandler, Music Partner Manager, and Glenn Brown, Head of Music Partnerships, recently both watched "Baby Samba Dance!"

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This Sunday (June 27) Paul McCartney takes to the stage to headline Hard Rock Calling in Hyde Park and YouTube will be hosting a stream from the event at the BornHIVFree channel.

Starting at 8.30pm in the UK (12.30pm Pacific Time), visitors to the channel can enjoy an exclusive broadcast of McCartney's performance, donated by the former Beatle to The Global Fund’s Born HIV Free campaign, which has another high-profile patron in the form of France’s First Lady, Carla Bruni-Sarkozy.

Born HIV Free is urging people pledge their support to The Global Fund’s efforts to eliminate mother to child transmission of HIV by 2015 by adding their names to the organization’s Support Wall. At present, 45% of HIV-Positive pregnant women have access to the drugs they need to block transfer of the virus to their babies, with Global Fund-supported programmes reaching 790,000 to date… 340,000 in 2009 alone. The goal is clear and your voice could make the difference.

So, as you are listening to Paul McCartney work his way through what – with The Beatles, Wings and his solo recordings – must rank as one of the best sets of songs of all time, spare a minute to find out more about Born HIV Free, The Global Fund and maybe even add your support. YouTube will be updating live on Twitter this Sunday via @youtube, and you can add your comments to a planned Twitter stream on the channel using #bornhivfree.

Have fun,

Jamie Dolling, YouTube UK, recently watched "Rehearsal Footage – 19th May 2010".

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She’s a global music star with hypnotic dance moves, a philanthropist and a YouTube phenom (her “Waka Waka” video, made for the 2010 World Cup, has over 32 million views). But now, Shakira is opening herself up to your questions.

Beginning today, you can ask her any question you’d like -- about her music, her work supporting education for all children through the 1Goal campaign and her own Barefoot Foundation, her World Cup stint, or anything else. The top questions will be posed to the Colombian songstress in an interview next week.

Here’s more from the lady herself:



Questions should be submitted in either video (preferable) or text to www.youtube.com/join1goal before midnight PT on Saturday, June 26. The full interview will be posted to the same channel and featured on the YouTube homepage next week.

Ramya Raghavan, Nonprofits & Activism Manager, recently watched “Queen Rania Invites You to Join 1Goal.”

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Whether you’re on Team Edward or Team Jacob (we’re pretty much split 50/50 here at YouTube), tune in tonight to watch red carpet coverage of the Eclipse premiere, live from the Nokia Theater in Los Angeles. From 5:30 p.m. PT onwards, Twilight’s YouTube channel will give you a front-row seat to the arrivals area where many of the film’s stars, including the buff Taylor Lautner, beloved Robert Pattinson, and belle Kristen Stewart, will be stopping to chat with Access Hollywood reporter Quddus.

The scene from Hollywood may look nothing like Forks, but all of your favorite vampires and werewolves will be there giving live interviews and greeting fans. Many of these Twilight faithful have been waiting for up to three days in order to catch a glimpse of their favorite pale-faced friends.



The red carpet stream will repeat on the Twilight channel immediately after it premieres so if you miss it the first time, you can see it the necks time around.

Thomas Henry, Display Team, recently watched “New Moon Volturi Fight Scene”.....again.

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Today, the court granted our motion for summary judgment in Viacom’s lawsuit with YouTube. This means that the court has decided that YouTube is protected by the safe harbor of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) against claims of copyright infringement. The decision follows established judicial consensus that online services like YouTube are protected when they work cooperatively with copyright holders to help them manage their rights online.

This is an important victory not just for us, but also for the billions of people around the world who use the web to communicate and share experiences with each other. We’re excited about this decision and look forward to renewing our focus on supporting the incredible variety of ideas and expression that billions of people post and watch on YouTube every day around the world.

UPDATE: This decision also applies to other parties to the lawsuit, including the Premier League.


Posted by Kent Walker, Vice President and General Counsel, Google

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Wrestling fans, have we got a body-slam of an announcement for you. Today, we’re announcing a new partnership with the World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) that will bring full-length episodes of Friday Night Smackdown, WWE NXT, WWE Superstars and ECW to YouTube users in the U.S. on the WWE YouTube channel. In case that's not enough pile-driving goodness for you, there will be even more clips from Monday Night Raw, footage from classic WWE matches, and videos from WWE Superstars and Divas like John Cena, Chris Jericho and Alicia Fox.



Whether you cut your teeth on old Wrestlemania matches, came of age under the reign of Austin 3:16, or are just a casual observer interested in the world of sports entertainment, the WWE channel on YouTube is your destination for fresh content from WWE Superstars. Remember to subscribe to stay on top of the latest shows, news and announcements.

Nate Weinstein, Entertainment Marketing, recently watched “Raw: Big Show & Mark Feuerstein vs. Ted DiBiase & Virgil.”

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Last week we started a blog series with WITNESS, a human rights video advocacy and training organization, highlighting the role that online video is playing in human rights advocacy. And though activists around the world have shown how powerful YouTube can be as a tool to raise awareness of human rights violations, this kind of work opens up new risks, online and offline. This post is designed to help you maximize the effect of your human rights videos while protecting those you're trying to help -- and ensuring your videos don't get taken down from YouTube.

Before you even start shooting video, it's important to assess the risk, understand your audience, and develop your message. This short animation, part of a series that WITNESS released, will help you think through your preparation:



One of the most important factors in creating human rights video is protecting the people you feature. In the past, videographers could generally control the size and scope of their audience, but nowadays it's safe to assume that if a human rights video is online, it's only a matter of time before the offenders see it. So it's always good practice to get informed consent from the people you film. That means making sure they understand the possible negative consequences of appearing in your video. You can also blur or obscure faces, to mitigate the ability of authorities to reveal someones identity or location. This is important: authorities in Burma, for example, have used online footage of protests to identify and arrest activists. Here's a good example of protecting an interviewee's voice and face, from a human rights organization in Israel:



But you don't need editing software to protect someones identity. You can do it with back-lighting, too, as in this video:



Once you've addressed the ethical and safety issues of your video, it's time to think about distribution. In some cases, it's not important how many people see your video, but who sees it. Activists worldwide use YouTube to post human rights footage and advocacy videos, but in some cases it may not be the best or only choice. You might have better results by keeping your footage private, but threatening to make it public -- or you may not need to put the video online at all and hold a local screening instead.

That said, your potential to reach a large audience online is a big advantage. If you do decide to post your human rights footage to YouTube, you should thoroughly read our Community Guidelines to understand what kind of content is acceptable on the site. Though we don't accept violent or graphic content on YouTube, exceptions are made for content that is educational, scientific or documentary in nature. When reviewing the content that is flagged by our community, our bias is toward free expression -- with necessary limits to ensure the site remains a safe and vibrant platform for the discussion of ideas. Understanding the context surrounding your content, and its original intent, is important for our team. Here are a few things you can do to protect your videos and keep them on the site.

  1. Add as much context as possible. Titling and tagging your video correctly is the best way to add context to your videos. When our team is reviewing flagged content, titles or tags with words as simple as “human rights" or "police abuse" will help us understand the context of the footage you're uploading. Try to add some specific information into the description: who is in the video, what is happening, where and when did it happen, and why. You can also add this detail directly onto the video itself, using our annotations tool.
  2. Get consent. As we mentioned before, it's important to get the consent of those you're filming. If someone flags your video and complains about appearing in it, we may have it taken down, particularly if they are not a public figure, are in a private place, or make other claims of harassment.
  3. Understand local laws. Given the global scope of the YouTube platform, we comply with different sets of laws in the various countries in which we're launched (to see where we're launched, go to the YouTube.com footer and click "Worldwide"). If the content in your video is illegal in one of these countries, we must comply with the local formal legal processes. For instance, that means that in Germany we don't stream videos that are sympathetic to Nazism. Know your local laws before you upload.
  4. Understand copyright. It's important to have a good handle on our copyright policies. If someone makes a claim against your video, perhaps because they believe they own the soundtrack or the footage itself, you can file a counter-notice. Though it's not YouTube's role to make fair use judgments on content, here is a helpful guide that WITNESS recommends you consult on fair use issues in online video, and some ethical considerations for when you're re-mixing human rights footage. Many content creators license their videos and audio for re-use with Creative Commons licenses.
  5. Be in touch with us. We want to hear from you. If you believe your account has been hacked, for example, visit our Help Center to let us know, and we'll investigate. We also track breaking news videos from citizen sources at CitizenTube, our news and political blog. Send us a link to your video in the comments section or tweet it to @citizentube.

Steve Grove, Head of News & Politics, YouTube, and Sameer Padania for Witness

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OK, YouTube. We know you love to dance. You've been shaking your stuff in front of the camera in your bedrooms, bathrooms and on the streets for years now. And all that practice is about to pay off: we’re joining forces with Jon M. Chu (and Dr Pepper Cherry) for the first-ever YouTube dance contest -- "YouTube Dance Studio.”




If you love dance, you know who Jon Chu is. From the Miley and Mandy ACDC Dance Battle to the Legion of Extraordinary Dancers, to directing Step-Up 2 and the upcoming Step-Up 3D, Chu is at the nexus of some of the most energetic, funky dancers you’ve ever seen. Now he wants to find the next generation of extraordinary talents on YouTube.

Here's the deal: pick the style of dance that suits you -- hip-hop, jazz-funk or b-boys & b-girls. Prove you know how to dance by replicating the choreography in the video; then show off your personality in the freestyle section. If your talent and style stand above the rest, you could win a trip for two to Los Angeles, where you'll spend a day with Jon M. Chu at a jam session with some of the best hip-hop dancers around. You'll also have the opportunity to dance in an Ultra Records music video.

So bring it! Download the selected tracks, learn the moves, take out your camera, and show off your style. We know you have a passion for dance, and we want the world to see it, too.

Sadia Harper, HowTo & Style Manager, recently watched “Dance Studio Choreography: Jazz-Funk.”

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Video editing usually requires installing software packages and having a fair amount of technical savvy. But we think video editing should be fun and easy, so we’re introducing a new tool that anyone -- even this guy -- could figure out: it’s an online video editor, now available in TestTube, our ideas incubator.

Without installing any software, it allows you to:
  • Combine multiple videos you’ve uploaded to create a new longer video
  • Trim the beginning and/or ending of your videos 
  • Add soundtracks from our AudioSwap library of tens of thousands of songs
  • Create new videos without worrying about file formats and publish them to YouTube with one click -- no upload necessary
Watch this video from powerposter rewboss to get a sense of how it works:



See? Pretty easy. The editor is ideal for merging single, short clips into a longer video. For example, you can transform clips from your vacation into a video travel diary set to music, or create a highlights reel from footage of your last basketball game.

It’s also great for trimming a long video down to the moments you really care about. Say you’ve uploaded a wedding ceremony -- beautiful event, but do you really need to see all the guests shuffle in? The video editor lets you easily remove unwanted footage so you can capture just the moment when they say “I do.”

See what some of our early experimenters have done with (or said about) the tool -- live2tivo even wrote a little ditty for it:




Please play with it and let us know what you think in the comments below and/or check out more info about it in our Help Center. We’re looking forward to adding new features based on your feedback to make the video editor more powerful while still retaining its simplicity.

Rushabh Doshi, Software Engineer, recently created "Gnome Tricks," and Joshua Siegel, Product Manager, recently created “Meet the YouTube Video Editor.”

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In its January 13, 2010, ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court blocked the public broadcast of the proceedings in Perry v. Schwarzenegger, a U.S. District Court case challenging the constitutional validity of California's Proposition 8 ban on same-sex marriage. Not to be deterred, producers John Ainsworth and John Ireland from MarriageTrial.com took verbatim court transcripts and first-hand accounts from bloggers present at the trial to film complete re-enactments of the proceedings for their YouTube channel. With closing arguments slated for June 16, we caught up with the producers to learn more about the project.

What is the inspiration behind MarriageTrial on YouTube?
We realized on January 13, when the U.S. Supreme Court blocked the broadcast of California’s Proposition 8 trial, that this was really significant. When the American public was actively prevented from accessing these public proceedings on YouTube — precisely because it is so accessible — well, that’s a flat-out dare. We had to fill the void. We both believe that citizens should have access to the judicial process that will likely determine the future of marriage equality for our entire country.

First video in the series:



How has YouTube helped meet the goals of your project?

There is really no better venue for 60+ hours of film. Many blogs and news media websites have embedded our videos. Because of this, our coverage has become an integral part of the media’s reporting on the trial. Ultimately, this serves our primary goal, which is to bring transparency to the court process.

We have followed behind the scenes of the trial, as well. When the Defendant-Intervenors filed Motions to Strike testimony, we were able to “red-line” the proposed strikes, guiding people to the excerpts the motion sought to exclude from the official record. In fact, our re-enactment will remain accessible, regardless of what may be redacted from the official transcript. That is an extraordinary victory for transparency in our judicial process.

YouTube’s “time seek” functionality allows us to link evidence that is introduced in the trial. Most of our viewers are active consumers of the information, many of them reading along with the transcripts and searching for further references to each witness’s testimony. Yet many others just run the videos in the background. One of our subscribers, who cranks up her speakers and cleans the house, told us she considers our channel better than the books on tape.

Has the amount of attention been a surprise?

We were astonished at the press coverage we received, from local and national media. The international press, too, took a great interest in our project. The fact that they could access our video on YouTube made it very easy to cover and most TV and radio outlets broadcast clips directly from our YouTube channel. In a way, our YouTube Channel served as an Electronic Press Kit (EPK), which saved us quite a bit of time and marketing money.

We were featured in the New York Times, then on Bill Moyers Journal on PBS. Other national and international coverage followed. These reports commented on the way we were getting this video out to the masses…that our effort signifies a new type of “citizen journalism,” not only accessible to the world, but faster and cheaper to produce than traditional forms of media broadcast.

Describe the use of captions in your videos.

A few hours after we uploaded our first chapters, automatic captions miraculously appeared! We then formatted the official court transcripts and used YouTube’s auto-alignment tool to produce accurate captions. Our actors followed the transcripts word-for-word and the captions make it clear what a great job they did. It was so easy to provide captions, which, traditionally, can be very expensive (often prohibitively) for filmmakers. The new Interactive Transcript feature is a great way for users quickly jump to specific parts of the video directly from the transcript.

Comprehension and retention of the concepts introduced by witnesses, for example, get a major boost when viewers can read along, without having to pull up the PDF transcript. And of course, the trial re-enactment is immediately available to people with hearing loss, as well as people whose native languages are not English. The auto-translate function makes these captions available in so many languages. We could never have even approached this level of accessibility as independent filmmakers.

If the ruling goes into appeals, will you continue with the re-enactments?

Yes. We plan to follow Perry v. Schwarzenegger to the U.S. Supreme Court. According to most experts, this court’s ruling will be appealed to the U.S. Ninth Circuit, regardless of whether it repeals or confirms California’s Proposition 8. From there, it will inevitably be appealed to the highest court. We expect the first appeal within six months or so, then for it to go to Washington, D.C. by next fall. We are already planning for those re-enactments. It’s a bit early to cast the Supreme Court justices just yet, but we know that is in our future.

Bottom line, this case as a landmark in America’s civil rights history. We are proud to have created this permanent record as a resource for generations to come. Its ultimate impact is tied to YouTube as an integral part in our country’s political and cultural tapestry.

Interview by Obadiah Greenberg, Strategic Partnerships, who recently watched “NASA Team Captures Haybusa Spacecraft Reentry.”

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Last night, the 14th Annual Webby Awards Gala in New York City was a celebration of the Web’s greatest achievements of the year. Producers worked through the night to edit and upload video from the event, including highlights, behind-the-scenes footage and five-word acceptance speeches, all now housed at youtube.com/webby.

YouTube staples and sensations had a strong presence at the event, from the Muppets to Google’s own Vint Cerf, one of the inventors of the Internet and a curator for our fifth birthday. Buzz Aldrin got an award of behalf of NASA (those guys at College Humor really love him), and The Office’s B.J. Novak hosted (his opening monologue is here). Those who attended the gala said a standout performance was a surprise one, by the PS 22 chorus:


Check out these clips and more at the official Webby Awards YouTube channel, and congratulations to all the winners!

Deeksha Hebbar, Product Marketing Manager, recently watched “14th Annual Webby Awards Highlights.”

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Tonight at 8 p.m. ET, watch President Obama live on the White House YouTube channel as he addresses the nation about the Gulf oil spill. Then 15 minutes later, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs will answer your questions. Starting now, you can submit your questions about the disaster using Google Moderator and vote the best ones to the top. Hear more from Mr. Gibbs:


Already, the conversation about the oil spill on the web has been lively. Earlier this month, thousands of you submitted your ideas on YouTube about how to clean up the oil spill, several of which were aired during the PBS NewsHour. And as more Americans search Google to find information about the oil spill and cleanup efforts, we want to help you connect directly with the recovery process.

Now’s your chance to hear the White House’s response to your questions about what many are calling the worst man-made environmental disaster in U.S. history.

Steve Grove, Head of News and Politics, recently watched “U.S. Oil Spill Explained.”

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Whether it’s an altercation between a Congressman and a student in Washington, D.C., violent attacks against ethnic minorities in Kyrgyzstan, or oil washing up on a beach in the Gulf Coast, videos uploaded to YouTube by both amateur reporters and professional journalists move through the media ecosystem with a sophistication and speed greater than ever before. But with 24 hours of video uploaded to YouTube every minute, how can people more easily find the latest breaking news videos on our site? And how can media organizations better leverage this content to expand the scope of their reporting and keep us all better informed?

To develop answers to these questions, we’re testing something new this summer: the YouTube News Feed. We’ll be working with the University of California at Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism to track news as it breaks on YouTube. The news feed will provide a stream of breaking news videos on YouTube, with a focus on strong visuals, non-traditional sources and the very latest uploads: videos like this natural gas well explosion in North Texas, this citizen’s election fraud investigation in New Jersey, this activist’s painful run-in with the sharp end of a fisherman’s hook in the Mediterranean sea, or even this run-away elephant in Zurich, Switzerland.

You’ll find the feed on CitizenTube, our news and politics blog at citizentube.com; you can also follow it via our twitter account, @citizentube. While we’ve occasionally tracked news videos on CitizenTube in the past (around the Iran election protests or the Los Angeles wildfires, for example), this summer you’ll see us increasing our focus significantly. Click here to see more.



You can help: if you’ve uploaded breaking news videos, please tweet them to us (@citizentube), and include as much context as you’re able to give. And we’d love to hear your feedback about this project in the comments sections of CitizenTube. Our goal with this news feed is to learn more about the news ecosystem on YouTube -- and who better to teach us than people like you.

Steve Grove, Head of News & Politics, recently watched “Abuse charges at running of the bulls”

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Do you ever look at a YouTube video and think, "That's a work of art?" Yep, so do we—and now, so does the Guggenheim.

In five years, YouTube has redefined media culture by changing the way the world creates, distributes and watches video. Online video is exploding not just as a medium, but as an art form, and we’re proud of the originality and innovation that YouTube has fostered among our users. Our community has produced some of the most creative and celebrated works on the Internet, videos that have been viewed by millions of people around the world.

We want to celebrate phenomenal video-makers and recognize the creative potential of the medium. So today we’re collaborating with the Guggenheim Museum to discover the most creative video in the world, and showcase exceptional talent working in the ever-expanding realm of digital media: YouTube Play: A Biennial of Creative Video. This global online initiative is presented in collaboration with HP.



We’re looking for animation, motion graphics, narrative, non-narrative, or documentary work, music videos and entirely new art forms—creations that really challenge the world’s perceptions of what’s possible with video. We want to elevate the debate. This presentation, we hope, will garner some of the finest creative work from every corner of the globe—not only to showcase it on one of the biggest stages online, but also in one of the most iconic artistic venues in the world, the Guggenheim Museum in New York City, and throughout the Guggenheim network of museums in Bilbao, Venice and Berlin.

Participants must submit their videos to YouTube Play to enter. The deadline for submission is July 31, 2010, after which the Guggenheim will assemble a shortlist to be evaluated by an international jury of experts from the worlds of art, design, film and video. Up to 20 videos will be presented at the Guggenheim Museum in New York on October 21, with simultaneous presentations at the Guggenheim museums in Bilbao, Venice and Berlin. The presentations will also be viewable to on the YouTube Play brand channel at youtube.com/play.

As we did with the YouTube Symphony Orchestra, we hope to build an aspirational place for some of the world’s best artists to showcase their works and talents. For more information about how to enter, go to youtube.com/play.

Ed Sanders, Senior Marketing Manager, recently watched "YouTube Play."

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E3 is the video game industry’s annual showcase, and this year we're live streaming all four days of the event, from the Los Angeles Convention Center, courtesy of our gaming partners at IGN.

Tune in to the E3 channel to catch must-see press conferences from the biggest names in gaming, product demos, developer interviews and more:



If you miss any of the action, you can check out playlists of event highlights from IGN, in addition to more hot-from-the-floor E3 reporting from other games-media partners like Machinima. You can make your voice heard, too, with the return of our games trailer challenge, which invites you to vote on some of most-anticipated game trailers unveiled at E3.

The E3 live stream kicks off on Monday at 9:30 10:30 a.m. PT and ends on Thursday at 7 p.m. PT. Check the E3 channel for the latest schedule of events, and don’t forget to check out the game trailer challenge; voting lasts until the 25th of the month.

Mark Day, Games Manager, recently watched "Light Warfare."

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A year ago this weekend, Tehran erupted in protest at the disputed results of Iran’s tenth presidential election. In the severe government crackdown that followed, documented on cameras and uploaded by citizens to YouTube, no moment has been seen more than the death of Neda Agha Soltan, a young musician whose brutal killing by a sniper became the rallying cry for Iran’s opposition Green Movement. The anonymous videos of her death even won a prestigious George Polk award for journalism last year.

Today on the YouTube homepage, we're featuring a documentary from director Antony Thomas and HBO, entitled "For Neda". The film highlights how citizen reporting has become so important to human rights that even world leaders are paying attention to it. For example, as you’ll see in “For Neda,” President Obama talks about watching the video of Neda’s death, calling it “heartbreaking” and “unjust.”



We’re also taking this opportunity to begin a series of blog posts in partnership with WITNESS, an international human rights organization that supports people using video to document and expose human rights violations, to explore these issues.

How has video become such an important part of human rights advocacy worldwide? At its heart, human rights video is about making something visible that was not visible before. Seeing human rights abuses with our own eyes is very different than reading about the same abuses in a story or a blog post or a Tweet. In the past, we mainly saw these kinds of images in the nightly news or in documentaries -- and even then only occasionally. But now that camera usage and access to the Internet is much more widespread (including in many developing countries), we encounter human rights images much more directly. For example, Burma, Tibet and Iran are places where it’s difficult for local or international media to report, so when mass protests were met with violent force, it falls on ordinary people to try to get images out.

Human rights video is about more than capturing images of abuse as they happen, however. Direct testimony from victims or local activists can provide powerful and compelling evidence of human rights violations. Testimonies like that of "Mary," a Zimbabwean political activist who was abducted, raped and beaten in a secret torture center after the disputed 2008 presidential elections in Zimbabwe, have unique power to help us see what those who have suffered human rights abuses see, to feel what they feel, and to hear what they want to happen.

Videos alone aren’t usually enough; in order to make an impact, activists organize around the content. Sometimes organization is required simply to ensure the content finds an audience: in Iran, it was a networked web of activists who organized proxy servers and emailed footage to a diaspora outside of the country to ensure the videos got around the government's block of YouTube. Other times, coordinated campaigns ensure that citizens are called to action in courts, public squares or parliaments, as has happened in Brazil, Kenya, India or in the International Criminal Court. This isn't a phenomenon confined to developing countries or repressive regimes; it’s also happening in the U.S. Testimony as part of a campaign against elder abuse across the U.S. has helped expose stories that would otherwise go untold, and to pass legislation that improves the lives of millions of citizens. In our next post, we'll talk more specifically about what you can do to make sure videos you've uploaded or care about can have maximum impact for human rights.

As online spaces become more and more important for sharing and accessing information, we believe that access to the Internet itself is becoming a key factor in human rights in the 21st century. To make that a reality, governments, businesses, activists and citizens need to take a collective stand to ensure that video can shine a light into the darkest corners of human society, providing paths to justice to those who need it most. Both at WITNESS and at YouTube we're committed to helping build a global movement for human rights video that does just that.

Steve Grove, Head of News & Politics, YouTube, and Sameer Padania for WITNESS

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Calling all video-making chefs! The Food Network is taking to YouTube to find culinary talents to compete for the chance to host their own TV show. Chef Bobby Flay explains:



Your task is to submit a video showcasing your personality and cooking skills to http://www.youtube.com/foodnetwork. The grand prize winner will get a private audition with Food Network execs Bob Tuschman and Susie Fogelson in New York City.

If you want to start sizing up the competition, try to top yummeo as he concocts fish tacos:



Entries are due July 16, 2010, and “The Next Food Network Star” is brought to you by Samsung.

Good luck!

Sadia Harper, Howto & Style Manager, recently watched “The 90 Second Gourmet - Coq Au Vin.”

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Teams representing 32 nations have gathered in South Africa for the 2010 FIFA World CupTM, the quadrennial football (aka soccer) tournament celebrating the world’s most popular game, which begins Friday, June 11, and concludes in a month, with the championship match on Sunday, July 11.

This World Cup has special significance as it will be the first time the event has been held in Africa, where the game has been growing by leaps and bounds – besides host nation South Africa, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Cameroon and Algeria will each be competing.

According to FIFA (Fédération Internationale de Football Association), the sport’s governing body, the World Cup is the most-widely viewed sporting event in the world, with fans everywhere following their teams with rapt attention.

On YouTube, there will be many ways to feel World Cup fever. Here are some channels to subscribe to:

- ESPN will have extensive coverage of the event, including match highlights, and have put together a set of 32 videos profiling each of the national teams:



- Univision will be uploading Spanish-language video around the event, with special coverage of the Mexican national team.

- The U.S. team will face England in one of the Cup’s most-anticipated matches on Saturday, June 12. Get behind-the-scenes footage of each team on their respective channels: U.S.A., England.

- Coca-Cola is celebrating the tradition of the post-goal dance, giving people a chance to submit their original moves to the “Longest Celebration.” Submit here.

- Visa is creating an epic video of fans around the world screaming “GOOOAAALLL!” in the style of the iconic soccer announcer Andrés Cantor. Submit your video here.

- Last but certainly not least, Portugal striker extraordinaire (and international heartthrob) Cristiano Ronaldo has joined the YouTube community, with videos like this:



Olé olé olé!

Andrew Bangs, Sports Manager, recently watched "My 2010 World Cup Predictions."

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The forecast for the Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival this weekend in Manchester, Tenn., is scattered thunderstorms, but you don’t have to worry a stitch about that (unless you’ll actually be frolicking in the 700-acre field where it takes place). That’s because starting this Friday and throughout the weekend, we’ll be live streaming directly from Bonnaroo, in partnership with Superfly Productions and powered by Ford.

The exclusive webcast will include performances from folks like Jay-Z, Tenacious D, Kings of Leon, Weezer, the Dead Weather, LCD Soundsystem, Jimmy Cliff, The Avett Brothers, Spearhead and Dave Matthews Band. YouTube’s own ukulele queen Julia Nunes kicks the whole thing off on Friday, June 11, at 12:15 p.m. (CDT) / 1:15 p.m. (EDT). Hear her talk about her journey to Bonnaroo:


Check the full schedule along with any last minute updates here, the very same place to tune in for the full webcast from Friday, June 11, through Sunday, June 13. Subscribe to the channel (www.youtube.com/bonnaroo) for the latest videos from the festival, stay tuned to our Tweets (http://twitter.com/youtube), and join the live chat via #bonnaroolive during the event.

Enjoy!

Michele Flannery, Music Community Manager, recently watched “Tighten Up.”

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YouTube is a big place, but we’re trying to make it feel a little bit smaller. That’s why in April, we announced a new initiative in which you submit questions on a broad topic and then several employees who work in that area answer the most popular questions on video. It’s an opportunity to ask us anything you like relating to the subject at hand and to get to know many of the faces working at YouTube.

Our first topic was partnerships, and there were 2,017 votes on 96 questions from 223 people. After reviewing your questions, rehearsing, applying a little more makeup than usual, and rehearsing some more (because we’re not naturals at this like you are!), two members of our partnerships team -- Shenaz Zack, Product Manager, and Camille Hearst, Product Marketing Manager -- made this video response:



We hope the video helps to demystify any burning questions you may have had about being a YouTube partner.

Next up, head over to our YouTube channel where we’re using the nifty new Moderator tool to collect questions on the next topic: “YouTube Worldwide.” This is a good opportunity to ask about what goes into localizing the site, how to find cool content in your language, translation features, and lots more. We’ll be taking questions until Sunday, June 13, and then we’ll be back as soon as possible afterward with two new staffers in the hot seat.

Mia Quagliarello, Product Marketing Manager, Community, recently watched “Mike Tyson’s Tea Time.”

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Five years ago, Dutch professional footballer Edgar Davids gathered a talented group of Dutch street soccer players and travelled across Europe, the United States and Latin America to take on the best local teams, on their own streets. After numerous matches in five countries, Edgar and his boys were victorious over their many challengers and claimed the title "The Street Legends." That journey became known as "The Legends Tour."

This year, Edgar Davids and his Street Legends are hitting the road again to see if they’re still worthy of the title...and this time you can watch their journey on YouTube. The team started in Amsterdam before heading on to London and Paris. They've hit Senegal, Kenya, Ghana, and will finally end up in the bustling townships of Johannesburg and Cape Town in South Africa, where the World Cup festivities will start next week. Along the way, the best local street players from their respective countries will attempt to de-throne Davids and The Street Legends. As they traverse the globe, Edgar will also encounter some of his famous football friends, like Ryan Babel, Michael Essien and Marcel Desailly, all of whom will be showing off their footwork to locals.

In Africa, The Street Legends and Edgar are also embarking on a personal voyage of discovery to understand how street soccer influences people and how it thrives across Europe and Africa every day. Edgar will be visiting grassroots projects providing healthcare, education and hope to thousands of people. Check out some inspiring moments from their visits to Senegal and Kenya:






Subscribe to www.youtube.com/streetsoccertour to see how their exciting journey wraps up!

Anat S. Amir, Head of Marketing, Google Africa, recently watched "#12 Ghana Freestyle."

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It’s no secret that any successful 21st century political campaign must have a robust online strategy to succeed. But elected officials and candidates need more than just a website and a YouTube channel to engage voters: from President Obama’s YouTube interview to Senator Scott Brown’s campaign team’s use of Google Docs to Congressman Scott Murphy’s “Google blast” ad strategy, we’re seeing politicians use more and more of our products and platforms to interact with voters, share information and keep their campaigns organized.

We want to do our part to make sure candidates and campaigns have the tools to stay close to voters, who now expect to hear and see much more from their elected officials than ever before. So today, we’re launching YouTube’s You Choose 2010 Campaign Toolkit and a new and improved Google Campaign Toolkit. Both help candidates make their organizations more effective and deliver their messages more directly. On YouTube, campaigns will have access to features like a Politician channel (which allows campaigns to brand their channel and upload longer videos), Google Moderator, our free analytics tool YouTube Insight, and information about running paid advertising campaigns—using formats like in-stream ads and Promoted Videos—to reach viewers with political ads, just like on TV. And our Google toolkit demonstrates how Google Apps can keep staff and volunteers connected, how search ads can grow your email list and provides other helpful tools.

We hope campaigns in both national and local contests will use these toolkits to engage and inform voters on important issues in 2010. As access to information online is increasingly important in elections, we’re pleased to continue developing useful tools for voters and candidates.

Ginny Hunt, head of public sector programs, Google, recently watched "We are Better than That!!!!!"

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We launched YouTube Video Volunteers last June at the National Conference on Volunteering and Service (NCVS) to help nonprofits who struggle with creating great video, engage the passionate YouTube community, and introduce the idea that the Internet can be a powerful force for volunteerism. One year later, the YouTube community has created over 500 videos for nonprofits working on a vast array of issues from health to human rights, animal welfare to the arts -- and these videos have received millions of views.

This month, we’re teaming up with a true YouTube veteran, Miley Cyrus, to celebrate the organizations that devote themselves to promoting service and volunteerism on the ground and online; organizations like our partner Service Nation, Miley’s own org Get Ur Good On, mentoring orgs like Big Brothers/Big Sisters and countless others. To find one that you’d like to make a video for, visit www.youtube.com/videovolunteers. Then submit it by June 23 for the chance to be featured on the YouTube homepage during this year’s National Conference on Volunteering and Service at the end of the month.

Here’s more from Miley about this round of Video Volunteers:



Thanks for contributing your time and video skills to making the world, and YouTube, a better place. Together, we can make sure nonprofits everywhere continue to be recognized for their amazing work.

Ramya Raghavan, Nonprofits & Activism Manager, recently watched “Message in a Bottle.”

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Millions of people view, upload, share, and comment on YouTube videos every day. The vast majority of these people have good intentions, but as with any community, a few don't. This month, we’re celebrating the 3rd Annual Internet Safety Month by spotlighting videos that educate families on how to stay safe online. From making smart decisions about posting personal information, to dealing with rude comments and cyberbullies, these straightforward tips will enable you to have the best possible experience on YouTube and across the Web. Be sure to check them out and also take a moment to brush up on some of the tools YouTube offers to help you stay safe on our site:
  • Community Guidelines: This is our description of what is and isn’t allowed on the site. You should read these Guidelines before you post content, or if you see something that you think maybe shouldn’t be on YouTube.
  • Flagging: If you see something that you think violates our Community Guidelines, flag it! The flag icon is located below the video player. When flagging a video be sure to let us know which of our policies you think the video violates and we’ll review it.
  • Safety Mode: A setting that you can opt in to that will filter out content that may be inappropriate for sensitive users and teens. This setting reduces your chances of stumbling across content that you may not want to see. 
  • Unlisted Videos: These videos don’t appear in search results and only people who have the video's link can view them. Unlike private sharing, there’s no limit to the number of people who can view unlisted videos.
  • Help & Safety Tool: A tool that allows you to report privacy violations, block users and report harassment and bullying anonymously.
The more our community treats each other with respect, keeps personal information private, and reports inappropriate content, the better the YouTube community experience as a whole will be. Please do your part!

Mandy Albanese, Policy & Communications Associate, recently watched "Digital Citizenshop - Who Will You Be?