The actual merit of this month's CNN-YouTube Democratic debate has proven arguable, but it at least appears to have been influential, as more and more "traditional" news outlets are turning to the power of YouTube and its ilk as a way to breathe some new life into participatory citizenship.
One CNET News.com editor directed me to a relatively new feature offered by the online operations of the California regional paper Contra Costa Times--"Your Views," which allows users to submit their own photos, videos, and cartoons. The whole system is provided by a multimedia service company called MyCapture. It's not all that well-integrated into the main newspaper site, but it does offer some cool ways for readers to interact with the publication and ultimately network with other members of the community.
The most notable offering is probably the fact that readers can submit letters to the editor in video form, much as the CNN-YouTube debate encouraged ordinary citizens to go beyond the restrictions of the usual question-and-answer format. It is, as you can imagine, quite versatile. Presumably, you can now use video to show the newsroom powers-that-be that your street is full of potholes, that the naughty kids next door just TP'ed your magnolia tree again, or--as so many YouTube videos do--that your cat knows some really cute tricks. That being said, it doesn't look like the Contra Costa Times' video letters to the editor have really caught on yet.
Anyone else have local newspapers that are taking video letters-to-the-editor or are doing something else particularly unusual on the new-media front?