The White House announced a new open data policy today. It’s an exciting development that you can learn more about on the White House’s very comprehensive Project Open Data site. John Wonderlich at the Sunlight Foundation has shared some great analysis of the policy as well.

We’re big fans of open government data (we’ve even helped create some), but instead of writing about why we love this new policy, we’re going to write about why we love the announcement of this new policy.

The video you see above is a beautiful example of an organization going direct. Instead of assembling a bunch of reporters to transcribe their announcement to be retyped in news stories later, our nation’s CIO and CTO sat down in front of a camera and told us directly.

The individuals responsible for the new policy told us about it, why they’re doing it, and what it means for us. They told us in plain language. And they did it in under 2 minutes – as is made clear by the countdown clock in the top-right corner of the video.

They honored their audience. They honored our intelligence and our time.

The White House’s new media team makes this look easy, but it’s not. The video works thanks to many nuances that may not seem obvious to most people – the music, multiple camera angles, good sound recording, a tight script, great lighting, shallow focus, and a friendly delivery.

Indeed, the White House is its own media entity and has the resources it needs to make great videos like this, but you don’t need to have a ton of resources to go direct.

Whether you’re communicating on behalf of a government organization or not, honor your audience. Whether you’re writing a blog post or recording a vido, use a human voice. Tell your audience what you’re up to and why. If it makes sense, pull back the curtain and show them your face. Your candor will be appreciated.



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