Citizen journalism is an essential part of the web video community, but how do we classify the queens and other world leaders (and no, it’s not just Brits) who have been taking advantage of the medium?
Done right, first-person accounts from the world’s powerbrokers provide access to news in an unprecedented way that complements the crucial work of journalism while subverting noxious spin. And web video enables these leaders to advocate for causes or reach out to specific audiences with a personal style that’s less prevalent in speeches or official appearances.
Queen Rania of Jordan (King Abdullah II’s wife, not MJ’s), has taken to YouTube over the past several months with a very personal, passionate mission – fighting stereotypes of the Arab world. Contrary to Virginia Heffernan’s view that the videos seem “corny,” their quality, variety, and directness show an understanding of YouTube that’s superior to almost all of her peers. The community agrees – Queen Raina’s initial call for stereotypes and response to individual comments generated hundreds of thousands of views.
Other channel offerings include a striking interview compilation called Wedding Day Massacre, a survey of Arab women in the professional world (ok, that one’s a little corny), a John Mayer cover, and even an adaptation of Good Morning America’s regular Your Three Words segment (not being a GMA devotee, I was disappointed to find that Queen Raina wasn’t aping Daft Hands instead… that would’ve been cool).
This bit of commentary and comedy from Middle-Eastern Americans on the streets of New York is pretty great too:
This recently completed first project clearly touched a nerve and built a strong foundation for Queen Rania’s future messages. Here’s hoping that world leaders continue opening up and connecting with others where it truly makes a difference.