Daley goes viral with YouTube

By Bethany Reinhart

Following in the footsteps of Pope Benedict XVI and Queen Elizabeth, Mayor Richard M. Daley has formally launched his own YouTube channel.

Daley first created his YouTube.com account in 2006 but never used or showcased it. Partnering with Google allowed Daley and members of his staff to redesign the channel and officially introduce it to the public.

At a press conference at Google Chicago Headquarters, 20 W. Kinzie St., on Feb. 23, Daley said he and his staff decided to launch the YouTube channel in order to help keep the city of Chicago on the forefront of the 21st century and to use technology to ensure the progression of the city.

The Mayor also said the new YouTube channel will allow citizens to be more involved and informed about local government.

“I set up my YouTube channel so residents and visitors can see some of the great things the city is doing on a daily basis to help improve the quality of life for our great residents and how we are working to compete in our global economy,” Daley said. “This site is a chance for me to talk with residents directly. The idea is constantly informing the public.”

Daley said it is important to continue moving the city forward “even during these very difficult economic times.” Thinking innovatively, as the launch of his YouTube channel has allowed him to do, is key to becoming a more “global city,” he said.

Jeff Levick, vice president of marketing at Google, YouTube’s parent company, said Daley has been instrumental in helping Chicago “strive to reach new heights with the Olympic bid and other projects.”

The continuous integration of technology will only maintain to benefit the city, he said.

“We are grateful to his dedication to helping bring our city into the 21st century,” Levick said. “Today, joining other global leaders … Mayor Daley has once again demonstrated his willingness to reach out directly to Chicagoans and share our great city to the world online.”

When visitors log on to the channel, they will be greeted with a video of the mayor. welcoming them to his site.

“I’m Mayor Richard M. Daley of the great city of Chicago,” Daley says in his introduction video. “I welcome you to the YouTube site. You will be able to meet with me, see various events [and] meet people who really make Chicago what it is today.”

Jim Lesinski, managing director at Google for the central region, said the mayor’s YouTube site will be available to people both locally and globally.

“This will allow the mayor and the city to showcase not only their hyper-local efforts but also their global initiatives,” Lesinski said. “Users can not only just come here and see what is going on, you can raise your hand as an individual citizen.”

Lesinski said the mayor and his staff have already marked some of their favorite videos for other users to see.

“As other people in the city of Chicago put up things that the Mayor and his staff think are interesting and worth referring his viewers to you will see [his list of favorites] grow,” Lesinski said.

As of press time, Daley’s YouTube site had 25 videos and four favorites. The videos include a visit from the ambassador of Denmark, a video of President Barack Obama thanking Daley and an economic stimulus update.

The Mayor said his YouTube channel is being paid for by money budgeted to the city’s cable TV channel “Chicago Works” and will not use any additional taxpayer dollars.

Daley said adapting to the changing times and embracing the Internet in politics is crucial.

“You see business and your profession changing every day,” Daley said. “Politics has changed, business has changed. If you don’t change you’re going to live in the past, and if you live in the past you’re going to die.”

Check out the Mayor’s YouTube site at: YouTube.com/MayorDaley