Hey, Wait a Minute | The art of putting CATS on YouTube by yourself

Note: “Hey, Wait a Minute” is an occasional B Square Beacon series that highlights meeting minutes and other documentation of local government meetings in the Bloomington, Indiana area.

Thursday BH Screen Shot 2019-09-02 at 9.52.43 AM
Screenshot of YouTube version of Thursday, Aug. 22, 2019 Bloomington’s city council budget hearings. Link to time point in video: [200:38]

A couple of weeks ago, I described the automatically generated YouTube transcripts of Bloomington city council meeting videos as providing “a fantastically easy way to search through a video to find the exact spot you want to watch.” And I’ll say it again: It’s great that CATS (Community Access Television Services) is now uploading videos of regular city council sessions to YouTube.

But why would you ever want to watch some specific part of a city council meeting?

Maybe you’d like to hear exactly what a councilmember said about a particular topic with your own ears. What, for example, did Isabel Piedmont-Smith actually say about funding for the arts during the city council budget hearings? Continue reading “Hey, Wait a Minute | The art of putting CATS on YouTube by yourself”

Hey, Wait a Minute | YouTube says Bloomington councilmember Allison Chopra is right: Four hours is way too long for a city council meeting

Note: “Hey, Wait a Minute” is an occasional B Square Beacon series that highlights meeting minutes and other documentation of local government meetings in the Bloomington, Indiana area.

Cropped for Beacon youtube interface Screen Shot 2019-08-15 at 1.42.31 PM

Bloomington’s city council meetings are now available on YouTube. That’s a good thing.

But I want more.

I think every local government body in Bloomington should take steps to have the video of their meetings posted on YouTube.

Why?

It’s not because YouTube offers a gadget for making a hyperlink that starts a video at a specific spot. CATS offers a gadget, too. And the syntax is the same—just add &t=N at the end of the URL, where N is the number of seconds from the start of the video.

Meeting videos should be uploaded to YouTube, because YouTube offers an automatic transcription service. YouTube’s automatic service offers two giant benefits: (1) a transcript that can be copy-pasted from YouTube to the text-processing software of your choice; (2) closed captions superimposed on the video itself. Continue reading “Hey, Wait a Minute | YouTube says Bloomington councilmember Allison Chopra is right: Four hours is way too long for a city council meeting”

Hey, Wait a Minute |”I’m leaving this meeting at 10:30, regardless of how long it goes…”

Note: “Hey Wait a Minute” is an occasional B Square Beacon series that highlights meeting minutes and other documentation of local government meetings in the Bloomington, Indiana area.

Screen Shot 2019-08-04 at 11.19.17 PM
“…it’s 9:45 p.m. I am leaving this meeting at 10:30, regardless of how long it goes, because I need to sleep at night. … There is absolutely no reason why we should be having a meeting that lasts more than four hours …”

At the most recent meeting of Bloomington’s city council, on July 31, councilmember Allison Chopra offered some candid commentary on the length of the meeting.

Chopra said in part: “…it’s 9:45 p.m. I am leaving this meeting at 10:30, regardless of how long it goes, because I need to sleep at night. … There is absolutely no reason why we should be having a meeting that lasts more than four hours …”

The criticism that councilmember Chopra expressed at the meeting—of her colleagues and herself—was serious business. I think it’s worth watching Chopra’s remarks as she made them, in their entirety.

But how likely are you to click on a link to a four-hour meeting video? I’d guess the answer is: Not at all likely, because you are not a local-government nerd. Continue reading “Hey, Wait a Minute |”I’m leaving this meeting at 10:30, regardless of how long it goes…””

Hey, Wait a Minute | Is Bloomington in southern Indiana?

Note: “Hey Wait a Minute” is an occasional B Square Beacon series that highlights meeting minutes and other documentation of local government group meetings in the Bloomington, Indiana area. Sometimes, arriving at the connection to meeting minutes takes a long walk around the block.

The online world is a mostly a peaceful place where people share facts and thank each other for the useful information. But yesterday someone was wrong on the internet. So a mild fracas broke out.

Here’s the kerfuffle-inducing question: Is Bloomington considered southern Indiana? (Yes.) Continue reading “Hey, Wait a Minute | Is Bloomington in southern Indiana?”