Calif. Mayor Uses YouTube For Annual Address

San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom is delivering his State of the City address exclusively on the Internet. The annual speech will be shown in 10 episodes on YouTube and the city's Web site. It will total 7.5 hours. The first round, unveiled Monday, focuses on health, education and the environment.

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STEVE INSKEEP, host:

The mayor of San Francisco, Gavin Newsom, is said to love talking about every detail of running his city. And now he's found a way to make sure that anybody in the world can hear him. NPR's Richard Gonzales reports.

RICHARD GONZALES: Mayor Newsom is legally obliged to deliver the State of the City address in October with the arrival of the new fiscal year, but it comes late this year. The tech-savvy mayor bristled at having to limit his remarks before a live audience to one hour, says his press secretary Nathan Ballard.

Mr. NATHAN BALLARD (Communications Director for Mayor Gavin Newsom): He's a policy wonk. You know, he wants to go to the transportation advocates and say, hey, here's what we're doing to improve Muni. And that takes almost an hour just by itself. And so a traditional State of the City format doesn't really work.

GONZALES: Newsom is releasing his State of the City address in ten 45 minute segments. The first two were released yesterday. Each "webisode" is designed as a standalone discussion on everything from the city's universal health care program to poverty and emergency planning. Here's a taste of the introduction.

(Soundbite of Mayor Gavin Newsom's State of the City webisode)

Mayor GAVIN NEWSOM (San Francisco): The opportunity for you to spend one minute with me, one hour, as much as five or six hours, if you choose, but an opportunity to do something a little bit differently by engaging you directly in the issues of the day here in our great city.

GONZALES: The mayor's staff knows he's opening himself up to more than a few jokes, but technology forecaster Paul Saffo calls the idea gutsy.

Mr. PAUL SAFFO (Technology Forecaster): It's brilliant because he gets to say everything he wants to say. He gets to be the first person who tried saying it in this way. And he's done an end-run around all the people who might want to edit him.

GONZALES: Today, stay tuned for transportation. Richard Gonzales, NPR News, San Francisco.

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