It’s been a whirlwind couple of days here in Chicago, where Ustream has been
streaming the annual YearlyKos convention. My co-founder John Ham and I
have worked our tails off trying to cover as much as we can, while meeting
as many folks as possible (Our other founders, Gyula Feher and Adam Katona,
didn’t make the trip from Budapest…just a little too far!).
While we streamed the entire convention, certainly the highlight was
Saturday’s Presidential Forum, featuring Democratic candidates (in
alphabetical order by last name) Hillary Clinton, Chris Dodd, John Edwards,
Mike Gravel, Dennis Kucinich, Barack Obama, and Bill Richardson.
At one point, we had 2,500 people watching and chatting…and
unlike traditional television, these viewers were fully engaged in a
conversation that was at times thought-provoking, funny, brutal, insightful,
and most of all, passionately engaged. Over 40,000 people at one point or another tuned in to watch a portion of the convention. This is amazing because there were only 1,400 there in attendance!
But don’t take my word for it–check out some of the 516 comments on the
John and I got to the convention center every morning to stake out the best
possible spot for the cameras. There we were, with our little video cams,
surrounded and dwarfed by the entourages and equipment of over 200 members
of the traditional press. And yet despite all those cameras and reporters,
Ustream was the only network to carry a critical debate between these
Democratic presidential candidates LIVE:
At one point, one of the cameramen was jockeying for position, and
commented, “The real media should have the best spots.” To which I replied,
“You’re spending the whole day here, and how much of this convention are you
going to broadcast? A 5-second sound bite? We’re broadcasting the whole
thing. Let the people decide what they want to watch. We are the people’s media.”
That’s the beauty of Ustream. Instead of letting other people decide what
you *get* to see, you can choose for yourself. Of course, citizen
journalists aren’t likely to have trucks full of production crews to deliver
HD-quality video with reaction shots of the crowd. But the real choice here
isn’t between Ustream and CNN; it’s between Ustream in all its “low-def
glory” and no coverage at all.
Now what we’d really love is to do the same thing with the Republican
candidates. We’d love to help every candidate out there really connect with
The Internet is bringing the democracy back to politics, and we’re grateful
to be a part of it.
And for those of you who missed it, here are some of the highlights:
Here I am interviewing former General Wesley Clark. In this 10 minute
conversation, we took a bunch of questions from the chat room, touching on
Iraq, Guantanamo, and the recent actions of the Supreme Court. (Sound starts about mid-clip)
We look forward to streaming more events and appreciate all the support from the community!
One last great blog entry on “Why This Election Will Be Won Online”