Monday, August 16, 2004

The Seattle Times: Business & Technology: Bloggers clog up news at convention

The Seattle Times: Business & Technology: Bloggers clog up news at convention "Bloggers shine when they bring to light significant information not otherwise reported. Two notable examples: U.S. Sen. Trent Lott's racially charged comments at Strom Thurmond's birthday party, which a blogger monitoring C-Span coverage drew attention to after journalists did not report them. And an Iraqi blog that reported street-level perceptions of the war far more meaningfully than "embedded" American media.
But at the Democratic convention, the handful of bloggers permitted entry unfortunately committed independent journalism's cardinal sin: They became part of the story. National print and broadcast media, on the alert for an easy target, seized on bloggers as the upstart newcomers and highlighted them in fawning feature stories.
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Regrettably, the commotion also neutered any real objectivity and rawness that bloggers might have brought to convention coverage. Monitoring C-Span, news media and blogs, I watched eagerly for insights that only a blogger on site in Boston could provide.
Instead, bloggers for the most part mimicked major media. Commentaries were trivialized by observations on speakers' clothing and appearance rather than their message. Most blogs regurgitated quotes and reported themes that were meaningful only if you failed to watch the speech or see TV and newspaper coverage.
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The oldest trick in the world is to flatter a reporter into thinking he or she is as important as the story at hand. The Republican convention may tell us whether bloggers, having been suckered once, will fall for the same line again."
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