CNN's YouTube Debates Highlight Importance of New Media

In a New York Times piece entitled "YouTube Passes Debates to a New Generation," Katharine Seelye summarizes the traditional format for presidential debates:

"A guy in a suit asks mostly predictable questions of other suits. The voter is a fixture in the audience, motionless until he or she gets to address the candidate, briefly and respectfully. Everything is choreographed."

The YouTube debates may help to expediate the evolution of that format. Some are skeptical that the move will shake things up enough to get regular, everyday people more involved in the debates. And of course, everything still depends on what questions CNN decides to air. It does seem clear, though, that this is a good first step towards democratizing the debate process, and will hopefully get more millennials involved.

What is also clear is how important the mastery of new tools is for candidates to be successful in a digital age. NDN has long advocated a proactive approach to tackling new, cutting-edge media techniques. Check out some of the exciting work our affiliates at the New Politics Institute are doing to move progressive politics into the 21st century.