Obama has participated in video chats on YouTube and via Google+ Hangouts after the State of the Union every year since 2010. This year will be the first time YouTubers will be visiting the White House to talk with the president in person following the address, in a live 45-minute broadcast on Thursday, Jan. 22, at 5 p.m. ET, on the White House YouTube channel.
The PR move is part of Obama’s strategy to reach out to young Americans through YouTube stars’ millions of followers. In March the White House gathered YouTube personalities in a summit aimed at promoting signups for the administration’s health-care plan.
Mota (pictured, above) is a fashion and makeup vlogger with 8 million fans on YouTube; she was featured in an ad campaign YouTube ran last spring. Hank Green hosts popular show VlogBrothers, which has 2.3 million subscribers, with his brother John (author of “The Fault in Our Stars”). GloZell — self-described “Queen of YouTube” — presents interviews, comedy riffs on her life and song parodies to her 3.3 million YouTube followers.
The YouTube creators say they’ll ask the president about topics including education, net neutrality, jobs and the economy, and racial profiling, and will solicit questions from their fanbases over the next week.
The deal with the White House was brokered by Steve Grove, director of Google’s News Lab.
YouTube also will stream the president’s State of the Union address live on on Jan. 20 at 9 p.m. ET, as well as the Republican response.
Watch a video promotion for the YouTube creators’ White House interview: