Google and PBS NewsHour are teaming up to bring the public into a live interview with Bob Dudley, chief executive for BP’s Response. Dudley promises to respond to questions submitted to CitizenTube by real people, who also have the ability to vote on the questions the most want answers from.

The live event will be webcast Thursday at 3:30 pm ET. Portions will later be aired that same evening on the PBS
NewsHour and will be made available on YouTube.


 

This is big, and not just because of the magnitude of the ongoing environmental catastrophe wroght by BP in the Gulf. It’s a cross-media experiment, not to mention a foray into practically uncharted realms of online PR and crowdsourcing. A couple of hours after Google posted the even announcement on its blog, thousands of questions were posted, and many thousand more votes cast.

Sample questions include:

“Will BP commit to any/all expenses to remove 100% of the oil from the
Gulf? If you cannot commit to removing 100%, what percent can you
commit to removing?”

“Is there a large reservoir of natural gases in the Gulf in addition to
the oil, what do your findings reveal about a sudden release of pressure
in excess of 150,000 psi, and could that cause an earthquake, tsunami
or large toxic vapor cloud to form?”

“Why has BP made an effort to block reporter access to beaches, to buy
up private flight capacity over the region, and otherwise to prevent
third-party examination of the scope of the disaster?”

Hardball.

This is the Google’s second foray into crowdsourced coverage of the Gulf disaster. On June 15, the company streamed President Obama’s Oval Office address
on spill crisis, followed by
White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs answering questions submitted by YouTube users. Over 7,000 questions were submitted at the time, garnering 200,000 votes. With the crisis now in well into its third month and the participation of BP, it’s likely the interview iwth Dudley will be even bigger.

Says Google on its blog: “We hope that these various opportunities to engage and participate in a
current event help you and fellow citizens stay more informed and have
your voice heard.”

Doubtless, there will be takeaways for digital marketers and publishers as well.