C-SPAN, YouTube Hitch a Ride on the Bus

C-SPAN said Tuesday that it was teaming up with YouTube on a bus tour to collect voter input on the upcoming election.

The tour will start, appropriately, in Pennsylvania, site of the next key primary election. That's according to Steve Scully, senior executive producer and political editor at C-SPAN, who broke the news to a crowd at a morning panel of the Association of Cable Communicators’ annual conference in Washington, D.C.

The panel focused on various approaches to covering the campaign, with Scully acknowledging that C-SPAN was the pioneer in political interactivity by opening up the phone lines. He pointed out that this was originally through the general switchboard, now enshrined nearby in the Smithsonian Institution.

"C-SPAN has always been the place where people could express their points of view," he said, "and technology has upped the impact."

MTV News vice president and executive producer Jim Fraenkel said technology allowed his network to hold interactive forums with candidates, letting MTV poll surfers in real-time and give that feedback immediately to the candidates.

Asked by moderator Steve Effros of Effros Communications whether that was too much input to deal with in terms of communicating, he said perhaps, but young people were multitaskers and the "lean-back" technology of TV was changing as younger people kept their hands constantly on the computer mouse.

Jennifer Martin, director of public relations for CNN, added that the lean-forward technology of online news was becoming more of a lean-back technology as surfers spend more time on sites like CNN's.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.