City Politics Catching Up With YouTube

Earlier today, Christine Quinn gave a press conference on food stamps in the Bronx. I didn’t make it, but a few hours later her office sent out to me a video of the event.

As a meta-news side-note, this is a further bit of evidence of YouTube becoming an important part of local politics. This has already happened at the level of presidential and and high-profile statewide races — Macaca! — while lawmakers in the city have generally been slow to adapt.

But it’s changing. Quinn, a likely mayoral candidate, has quietly created her own Youtube channel, where her staff uploads videos of her press conferences. Bill Thompson, also likely to run for mayor, has been doing that for some time. And, of course, the first city official to start doing this, to my memory, is Betsy Gotbaum.

As it becomes more common, it will become more necessary, so I expect to see a lot more of these clips.

And here’s a random prediction: I’ve been muttering to a few people that, eventually, officials looking for camera time will start proactively posting statements for reporters to upload. We’ll see.

Also: The substance of today’s announcement (and video) is that 600,000 households in the city are eligible for food stamps, and 100,000 of those households are in the Bronx, according to Quinn. In response, "Those individuals and their households will now get personal outreach from the City of New York – a letter, a pamphlet, urging them to enroll in food stamps," Quinn says.