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Students Get Heard! Your Guide to the CNN - YouTube Debates

For many years, one of the biggest challenges of presidential candidates has been trying to penetrate the college demographic. Historically, college students don't vote in large numbers, but this election may be the one that will drive students to the polls. The popularity of this highly-contested primary season and the power of internet media have paved the way for college students to take on a more powerful role in the 2008 election. Toward this end, CNN has teamed up with Youtube to make the presidential debates more interactive and accessible for all.

 

cnn you tube debates logoCNN and YouTube have teamed up to bring us the "CNN/YouTube" debates. The contest rules are simple: create a short, 30 second commercial-style video where you comment on a current political situation. None other than CNN anchor Anderson Cooper (who has been at the frontier of involvement with younger generations as the world traveling anchor of student-news program Channel One) will be hosting each program. Each video will feature someone asking a question for presidential candidates. Now, if you're gonna get yer keister on YouTube, and possibly national television, you better be prepared, educated, and know what the hell you're talking about. Creativity is key to being noticed; combined with the viral nature of the web, your chance to get seen and heard just about anywhere you turn means that you could either make something happen or complete ruin it it for the rest of us. So put on your thinking caps and try to turn this opportunity into a great and powerful event.

Some of these videos have been elaborately produced, a nice way to get attention. However, it's not necessary and with a little creativity you could bust out and prove to be popular. So go create that video. It's not as much of rocket science as some of you think it is. If you don't know how to upload a video yourself, learn how to or find a tech-savvy guy or gal and make it a team effort.

What you'll need:

Digital camcorder

A firewire cable (your computer should have a firewire port. Otherwise things'll get complicated.

A free editing program (most newer computers have a Windows Video Maker program that's super simple to use).

Shoot it and get it on your computer.

Do editing if necessary.

Go to YouTube and push upload.

Youtube's guidelines for the project just involve your ability to be yourself and provide us with really good content. Some of these videos have already made the big screen and had an impact. The event begins with a Democratic debate first on July 23rd with the Republican debates heating up on September 17th. YouTube gives a window of 1 week to accept submissions' expect a lot more in the fall as news of these debates spreads throughout traditional media outlets. Here is one of the first videos showcased on CNN:

 

So there you have it. The entire country has always cried about their inability to get their voices heard. With the YouTube "You Choose" mentality, and their political vlog CitizenTube, everyone has been given an opportunity, and the youth of the nation will benefit the most because of their ability to easily shoot and upload a video. If you're a student currently partying it up summer-time style, take a few minutes to get your questions out there. Who knows, you could prove a good point that this Internet powered election is the real deal, cause some debate and controversy, and land you the cool kid in class when school starts back up in the fall. And that will inspire others to do the same and express their own anger and rage against the machine. Now what are you waiting for? Get out there and start a revolution!

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