Our top story: government web video

No10 video on BBC News
It isn’t every evening that a video clip from a government website features prominently on the main evening news. Except this week.
Last night, it was the Treasury’s YouTube clip of Alastair Darling preparing for tomorrow’s Budget: nothing too spectacular, nice visual wallpaper for the story. Tonight, the PM’s announcement of changes to MPs’ expenses – presented first on the Number10 website – didn’t just pop up on the 10 O’Clock News; it was the basis of the lead package.
It’s another curious piece to camera by the PM. When he talks straight into the camera, he actually comes across as quite sincere. But then he ruins it with that unnatural smile, which isn’t convincing anyone. He actually looks like he’s going to burst out laughing when he mentions Harriet Harman. (Insert your own punchline in the comments, please.) Clearly I’ve missed the inherent humour in the words ‘detailed written statement’.
Prime Minister – please, stop putting it on. Remind me, who was it who uttered these words six months ago? ‘So I’m not going to try to be something I’m not. And if people say I’m too serious, quite honestly there’s a lot to be serious about – I’m serious about doing a serious job for all the people of this country.’ Exactly. No more forced grins, eh.
PS Is it pedantic of me to point out that Nick Robinson’s oh-very-clever line about ‘a U-turn on YouTube‘ isn’t strictly accurate? The Number10 video player is powered by Brightcove, and the clip isn’t among those uploaded to Downing Street’s YouTube account. There, I’m glad I got that off my chest.
PPS Jemima Kiss at the Guardian has a nice roundup of views from ‘the web community’ (ie the usual suspects), reaching a similar conclusion. But please, before anyone else declares it the Worst Video Ever, let’s remember the Countdown one.

3 thoughts on “Our top story: government web video”

  1. The social-media-in-government commentariat seem rather silent on Hazel Blears’ ‘You Tube if you want to’ sound bite. Thoughts, anyone? Perhaps I’m monitoring the wrong feeds.

  2. Very good – look forward to it. Incidentally, another similarity between Major and Brown – I have no idea who is IC communications at No. 10 these days. Under Thatcher and Blair it was, of course, crystal clear. Hmm.

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