In the world of videoblogging, the 25-year-old Wolf is part of the old school. Inspired by Michael Verdi, Wolf first incorporated video into his political action blog, The Revolution will be Televised, in February 2005. In the following months, Wolf’s informed reporting on political activism in the Bay Area garnered significant notoriety within the vlogosphere.
On August 1, 2006, Wolf gained national media attention when he was jailed by a federal district court for refusing to testify in front of a grand jury and turn over video he recorded from an anti-G8 protest the previous July. He spent a total of 226 days in jail, the longest in history for a US journalist protecting source materials, before handing over his protest tapes to a federal Judge last April. The final terms of his release did not require a testimony.
The case brought up several interesting points, most notably, whether or not a blogger is an actual journalist, and whether Wolf should have been offered the same protections afforded to the traditional press. It’s an ongoing argument that engaged many, including the comedic hawk Stephen Colbert:
Journalist or not, Wolf may soon be a mayor. After no viable mayoral candidates emerged from the San Francisco Progressive Convention’s search, he told Chuck Olsen of Blogumentary, “I got a few ideas and no one to vote for, so why not me?”
So, what are those ideas? A form of open government inspired by Justin.tv (Tilzy.TV page) – “As mayor I will wear a mounted streaming camera while working on all official business so that the public can take part in a truly open and transparent government.” An opportunity for independence – “As an avid supporter of a free and independent San Francisco, I will introduce a city ballot measure to provide an opportunity for the people of San Francisco to city sovereignty.” And a few more.
There’s little chance Wolf will win, but at the least, his campaign should influence other candidates and politicians on important issues and how to communicate with constituents in a digital age. As Jeff Jarvis of PrezVid knows, they need the help.