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YouTube Begins Streaming Commencement Speeches Live

Many colleges post video of their graduation speeches online these days, but more may start to Webcast the speeches as they happen, via YouTube’s new live-streaming platform.

Dartmouth College will be the first higher-education institution to try YouTube’s live-stream platform on Sunday when Conan O’Brien speaks at its commencement. Later that day, Stanford University will stream its commencement address, to be delivered by Mexico’s president, Felipe Calderón. YouTube announced the Webcast plans on its blog on Thursday.

Hundreds of colleges have set up YouTube channels in recent years, but in many cases they post promotional videos that draw few views. Commencement speeches by celebrities have been the biggest hits on collegiate channels, such as a recent speech at Harvard University’s Class Day by the comedian Amy Poehler, which has already been viewed more than 450,000 times. Officials from Dartmouth hope that a live Webcast will let alumni and nongraduating students tune in, though they also plan to make the full recording available afterward along with highlights.

If colleges are now media outlets of a kind, thanks to the Web, commencements are the season finales.

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