It's hard to pick the "best" videos of the year. There are so many reasons that they can be good. So I've picked several based on my own categories.
Best On Camera Ass-Whuppin'
If you are a fan of Bill Moyers, you absolutely need to watch him perform political Jujitsu on a Fox producer for Bill O'Reilly's show. The producer was sent out to ambush Moyers at the National Conference for Media Reform in Minneapolis this summer. The ambusher ended up being the ambushee and citizen media chased him from the building. Video here: http://top-videos-2008.groups.theuptake.org/en/videogalleryView/id/65
Best story about what was happening, which you didn't see in the legacy media
There are several videos, but all about related stories.
I liked "We need God in our Governments" because it was charming and horrifying at the same time. Here are some people who honestly believe the misinformation that was being spread through religious social networks and churches about Barack Obama. Video here: http://top-videos-2008.groups.theuptake.org/en/videogalleryView/id/1540
We saw this rear its head later in the campaign when John McCain came to Apple Valley, Minnesota. One of his supporters said to McCain, "Obama is an Arab". McCain corrected her, but later she talked with The UpTake and explained how letters with this and other "really bad" information about Obama was being circulated by volunteers at John McCain's campaign office in Burnsville, Minnesota. Video here: http://top-videos-2008.groups.theuptake.org/en/videogalleryView/id/928
Video with subtitles here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LOU9xZ4zcss
The UpTake's Chuck Olsen was also way ahead of the legacy media in picking up the story about Republicans supporting Barack Obama. Here's a story he did way back before the Iowa caucuses about a "Reagan Republican" who has her reasons for supporting Obama. And one of those reasons is named Adam.
Best Big Event Video
Big events? There were many. But none as big as the night Barack Obama claimed the Democratic Party nomination in St. Paul, Minnesota. He did it in the same building where John McCain would accept his party's nomination just a few months later. If you want to know what it was like, we have the entire speech that we streamed live. http://top-videos-2008.groups.theuptake.org/en/videogalleryView/id/10
Best Storytelling In A Video
We were fortunate to have the help of Richard Hall in the Ozarks this campaign season. He gave us his own particular take on the election, usually with "small stories"... stuff most of the other media would miss, but the themes and issues he touched were anything but small. One in particular was my favorite. It was about how campaigning can be a positive experience. Given the daily stories we were seeing about how horrible and nasty campaigns can be, this was a reassuring and uplifting story. Video here: http://top-videos-2008.groups.theuptake.org/en/videogalleryView/id/1545/
Best Expose On Lack Of Transparency In Politics
I did this one, so I hesitate to mention it. But if you want to see the danger as well as the promise of citizen media this story has it. The danger: a paid "volunteer" for Congressman John Kline poses as media or a "regular citizen" (we're not sure which) to heckle his opponent at a press conference. The promise: citizen media exposed this ruse. Video here: http://top-videos-2008.groups.theuptake.org/en/videogalleryView/id/387
Things That Blow Up: Best Use Of New Inexpensive Technology For Citizen Journalism
It has to be the live video streaming cell phone. The UpTake was able to deploy these phones just before the Republican National Convention. No longer could police suppress coverage by confiscating cameras. When it was captured on a cell phone, the video was already safely recorded on a server many miles away. An unforgettable moment was captured in the video "Journalists Trapped Between Police, Protesters And Pyrotechnics". The UpTake's Corrine McDermid and Oliver Dykstra brave tear gas and explosives to show you what was happening live. Video here: http://top-videos-2008.groups.theuptake.org/en/videogalleryView/id/695
Most Excruciating Press Conference
US Senator Norm Coleman's Campaign representative must have been sat down by the lawyers and told that the only thing he could say in response to questions about Coleman allegedly accepting gifts from a big donor was "The Senator has reported every gift he has received". Cullen Sheehan repeated that phrase about a dozen times in a non-response to questions from the press. That turned out to be a bad idea, because it got the press even more interested in the story which has led the FBI to start investigating. Watch as Sheehan squirms:
Just Damn Weird
Several come to mind here.
Ron Paul supporters were always a bit goofy, but the height of their inspired lunacy was protesting outside the hotel where the media was staying in New Hampshire because Ron Paul had not been allowed into the debate. Video: http://top-videos-2008.groups.theuptake.org/en/videogalleryView/id/1532/
There were commentaries from Sock Le Puppet ( a sock puppet who claims to be French, but sounds like Inspector Clouseau from the Bronx ) constantly mocking the legacy media for trying to shape the news. He want a little over the edge after John McCain suggested suspending the campaign. http://presidential-politics.groups.theuptake.org/en/videogalleryView/id/1061/ ;
A strange presentation on the steps of a San Francisco Courthouse about "Poop and Politics" http://top-videos-2008.groups.theuptake.org/en/videogalleryView/id/1541/
But weirdest of all was "Catfish Caucus" captured on a cold Des Moines street the night of the Iowa Caucuses. http://top-videos-2008.groups.theuptake.org/en/videogalleryView/id/1528/