The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

State News

April 7, 2010

Kansas: Agency uses YouTube to illustrate road woes

The Associated Press

TOPEKA, Kan. — It’s one thing to hear about potholes and state budgets. It’s another to see how the two are connected.

That’s part of the thinking behind a new video presentation on YouTube this week from the Kansas Department of Transportation.

Using still photographs, charts and video, the agency produced a video that explains the effect of state spending reductions on road maintenance.

“The results for drivers are rougher roads and more potholes,” says narrator Patrick Quinn, a department social media specialist.

Secretary Deb Miller said Wednesday the video aims to illustrate the impact of $257 million in highway spending cuts during the past year.

“It seemed like an opportunity to show people when we say that (when) we don’t have adequate dollars to do preservation, these are the kinds of roads that aren’t getting treatment,” Miller said. “What better way to make the case than to show the picture.”

The four-minute video is the agency’s latest venture into social media. The department has already made extensive use of Web pages, Twitter and Facebook. Quinn said the video was viewed 350 times in the first 24 hours, with some newspapers embedding the link on their Web sites.

“We’ve had a terrific response,” he said. “It’s not wonkish. These are holes in the road.”

Quinn said Wednesday that KDOT took the video news release idea from Michigan, which also is active in social media use.

Barbara Hicks, a Michigan Department of Transportation spokeswoman, said earlier this year the agency issued a video showing how a new project near Grand Rapids would unfold. The video was picked up by news organizations and widely distributed.

Other messages have been sent on Twitter and Facebook to remind drivers about deer season or how to avoid traffic hazards, such as a recent tanker fire near Detroit, Hicks said.

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