How to explain a political process with a video?

The brilliant people at Common Craft just released a great video that explains the US elections in ‘plain English’! If you don’t know their other videos (mostly about internet issues) you really missed something and I strongly recommend them to you. Basically they “make complex ideas easy to understand using short and simple videos.”(mission statement!) But now enjoy “Electing a US President in Plain English”

“Make complex ideas easy to understand” … sounds like the EU needs something like that. Although the EU started experimenting with online videos lately, it still lacks creativity and a certain “online buzz”. Most of the videos about the EU (not only EUtube!) are either pure news reports or have a political motivation. However, one of the greatest problems of the EU is that nobody understands what exactly it does and how it works (which can also explain low turnouts at European elections). Unfortunately EUtube as well as other video producers do not address these issues. Short simple online videos could help people to learn and think about the EU.  Maybe the video on US elections can turn into an inspiration to produce similar videos about the European elections or the EU decision making process …in plain 23 languages!

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5 responses to “How to explain a political process with a video?

  1. These guys have done a whole series of videos ‘making complicated things simple’ – they’re quite good.

    I certainly concur that the EU should take notice of the very idea of simplifying complicated processes – but I disagree with your take on EUtube – the ‘let’s all come together’ video was probably one of the best political communications I’ve ever seen!

    Let’s just hope that if the EU takes up the challenge, they pick someone with a slightly less annoying voice than the commoncraft guy…

  2. I agree, basically only two videos on EUtube can be described as “creative” and “funny” (depending on personal tastes of course…): The “let’s all come together” video and the “Chemical Party” video which both managed to create a bit of ‘online buzz’.

    However, both try to address EU policy areas, which is of course also a big challenge in itself but not the point I wanted to make.

    As far as I can see none of the 135 videos on EUtube looks at decision making processes or aims at explaining the institutions in a understandable way.

    In times where citizens blame “Brussels” for everything but, at the same time, have little understanding of the different institutions I think it is important to explain political processes (in a neutral way!).

    For example, I doubt that lots of people can make the difference between the Council and the Council of Europe. Moreover it seems that it is not a known fact that the Council is made up of national ministers… Nobody actually can tell you some details about the
    role of the European Parliament or the Commission… Usually you hear “Brussels bureaucrats decide/impose/want” mixed with a few EU myths.

    I think as long as people don’t have a basic understanding about the institutional functioning of the EU as they (hopefully) have about their national political system the EU will remain a mystery to most of its population!

    Of course this is a complex problem and online videos are surely not the answer to everything, but since it is an easy and cheap way to communicate at the moment, they should give it a try!

  3. Pingback: How to explain a political process with a video? (II) « Kosmopolit

  4. Pingback: How to explain a political process with a video? (II) – Kosmopolito

  5. Pingback: US presidential elections (video) « The 8th Circle