Saturday, July 21, 2007

The Video Press Release

Earlier today I wrote a post discussing an obvious change that has occurred in political punditry during the past months--the increasing use of video as a compliment to written commentary.

That post was a follow up to two I wrote over the last couple of days about Harry Reid and the missing video. The other day Senator Reid failed to make sure a clear, clean video of the reasons behind his pulling the Defense Authorization Bill was available on YouTube. Apparently he depended on the MSM to provide a suitable clip. They universally elected to provide clips of the Republican response. Unopposed the Republicans must have looked pretty good to the uninformed.

It seems to me that Reid and the others in the Democratic leadership have failed to recognize that the blogosphere has changed. That change presents them with a major new communications opportunity. They can now visually go over the heads of the main stream broadcast media by distributing short videos, along with more traditional press materials. All they need to do is put the video up on YouTube and send emails announcing the video along with written press materials to the hundreds (or is it thousands) of on-line political pundits and activists.

I am still trying to figure out Bmaz's comment, but to the extent he is suggesting formal coordination, I don't see the point. The purpose of any press release is to make information available to people writing stories. The reporter uses the information provided as he deems appropriate. If a story has any currency the press release makes the job of the reporter easier and helps shape the reporter's story.

Right now if a blogger asks nearly every congress member will email him a press package on any topic of importance to the congress member. I know. I have asked and congressmen and senators have responded by giving me the same materials they provide members of the traditional press. One item I have yet to receive from any congress member is a video.

That is not to say that others, apparently more media savvy, haven't provided me with access to video material. The other day, I received an email from the Partnership for Quality Care, a SCHIP reauthorization advocacy group. The email contained a press release, some links, a full set of press materials. One of the links was to a YouTube video. While the video wasn't as good as it could have been, it was still pretty good. I used it in a post on SCHIP authorization. The kids are very attractive. I have read just about everything published on the web touching SCHIP during the last couple of weeks. I can confirm that the PQC video has been used by several bloggers.

Candidates routinely send me links to their latest and greatest ad. I am sure we have all received links to video materials from the DSCC and other party affiliated organizations.

It seems elected officials haven't gotten the memo. Bloggers, confronted with the daily need to grind out two or three posts, would love to consider using Harry Reid produced video instead of something from one of the major networks. Think Progress built an entire post around the McCain and Kyl clips. How do you think that post would have been written if they had relevant video from a couple of Democrats?

Right now the MSM produces most of the video linked to political punditry. Inevitably those MSM produced videos are shaping many of the stories we post. I can think of no reason the major networks should be the exclusive video gatekeeper. Can you?

I would really appreciate some feed back. Bmaz tell me more about coordination. Mostly tell me what I am missing.