In conjunction with Twitter and the CFJ journalism school (Centre de Formation des Journalistes), the international newswire Agence France-Presse (APF) has launched a YouTube channel dedicated to covering the 2012 French presidential elections.
The channel hosts videos posted by political parties and tracks candidate popularity, but its main feature is an interface in which viewers can submit questions to candidates. The questions are then posed in interviews held by journalism students from CFJ.
According to an article in Le Point, the channel is based on the American original "YouTube YouChoose08" election channel, which allowed viewers to post videos asking questions and candidates to post responses as well as campaign videos. However, the American press did not run the American presidential channel- YouTube created it. In an unexpected twist, YouTube users themselves created some of the more popular campaign videos, such as the parody of an Apple advert that put Hilary Clinton in the position of Big Brother. Youtube's user generated content model inspired people to promote their candidate of choice in unprecedented ways.
The APF's election channel is considerably more controlled. The interviews are organized in two-week intervals, and journalism students act as the mediator between the viewers' questions and the candidates. Furthermore, Le Point reported that other videos on the channel are uploaded by the APF or other news partners of YouTube, including France 24, Euronews, and BFM TV. The channel's role is informative with interactive elements, but its content remains controlled by the press rather than YouTube users.