Jeff Jarvis, “studio mogul” responsible for PrezVid, is a major name in the world of pop culture analysis. Current Buzzmachine blogger, Media Guardian columnist, and Daylife consulting editor, Jarvis also created Entertainment Weekly and served as a TV critic for TV Guide and People. Not a shabby resume, and PrezVid, a blog launched in January 2007 covering YouTube and other online videos of the field of presidential candidates, proves his credentials.
PrezVid makes claims for substantial relevance by picking up on the growing influence the web and sites like YouTube hold for presidential candidates in gaining exposure, spreading their messages, and, more frequently than we’d like to think, catching them in irreversible embarrassments. Everything YouTube and presidential (at least vying for presidential) is accounted for on PrezVid. There’s plenty of analysis, as Jarvis grades individual candidates’ YouTube campaigns, Peter Huack criticizes Barack Obama for saying nothing in his speeches, and Jarvis uses arrow charts to graph the candidates’ relation to each other and their stances. There’s also updates on new candidate ads, independent commentators’ takes, and comic relief. Despite a consistent penchant for typos, the writing on PrezVid is sharp and unafraid of bashing a candidate’s phoniness or lack of media savvy. Perhaps best of all for politics junkies, PrezVid contains links to each major candidate’s Myspace, YouTube, blog, and official site.
As he did for that YouTube grading seminar, PrezVid comes into its own when Jarvis takes centerstage to appear in the “PrezVid Show.” Here he gives advice to John McCain, whose ads have him looking wooden, pompous, and away from the camera. Jarvis points out how McCain could improve his appeal to online viewers while also complimenting the Republican for his interactive website. Maybe McCain’s listening, maybe not. Either way, Jarvis is a good teacher from whom to learn.