Steve Grove, CMC '00
CMC Major: PPE
Post-CMC: Earned his master's in public policy at Harvard University
Soundbyte: "The political stakes have never been higher in this country. The problems we face now on a whole host of issues—from climate change to the economic crisis to energy independence to the global war on terror—these are all problems for which we don't have ready-made solutions or even a template from generations past."
At a Glance: As political director of the YouTube Web site, Steve characterizes his job as "Part journalism, part politics and part herding cats." And that's not much of an exaggeration with an estimated 71 million users who collectively post and watch as many as 2.5 billion online videos a month on the site. "There's so much content on YouTube that it's impossible to keep track of it all," says Grove, 30, who before landing the YouTube gig, worked stints as a news reporter for the Boston Globe and at ABC News.
It's Grove's goal to highlight interesting ways voters are using the site and to create initiatives that connect candidates and voters directly together. "We do that on our You Choose '08 platform, where all the candidates have their own YouTube channels," he says. "We did a pair of live debates with CNN last year, we do local debate online almost every week, and we run programming that pairs up new journalists with traditional media outlets to share content."
Another of Grove's duties is working with media companies to help them reach new audiences on YouTube. "When hundreds of millions of videos are being watched on the site every day, that's a big draw for media companies that want to connect with new audiences."
Election Buzz and a Mind-boggling Stat: According to Grove, political videos are dominating YouTube. "Every day they are all over the 'most viewed' pages," he says. "Americans have a huge appetite for political video; 35 percent of all Americans (regardless of Internet access) say they've seen a political video online. That's a mind-boggling statistic to me."
Walking the Walk: The myriad of challenges facing the nation requires a real leader to "step up" and fill the void. That person, Grove says, must bring the American people to a place where we can all face up to the challenges that confront our country; a place where we can make the changes and sacrifices needed to meet those challenges. And Grove will be doing his own small part to make that happen: "On election day, we' will be working to get citizen journalists to document their polling places, both to demonstrate voter excitement but also to hold our democracy accountable for a fair election."
Picking a Winner: "Whichever candidate's YouTube videos get the most views will win, of course! Seriously, I'm as unsure as anyone. Both John McCain and Barack Obama present compelling cases for why their leadership is what Americans need. We'll see whose case is the most compelling come Election Day."