May 07, 2004

On "Blogging The Convention", or Cargo-Cult Journalism

In the run-up to the 2004 Democratic and Republican Conventions, I keep seeing talk of having bloggers do (usually assumed free) work of covering it (e.g. buzzmachine). [Update: I mean covering it in terms of having formal press credentials and writing from the scene with original reporting]

At the risk of getting myself more A-list revenge for unblogcoming conduct, I'm moved to say: Oh lord in heaven, WHY?. Modern political conventions are anti-news. Almost nothing happens at them. It's not like it's 1968 and there's rioting in the streets. It's not even as if there's a huge contentious party platform argument in the making.

Moreover, anything which does happen, will be picked over by a bunch of reporters who are paid to be there, and so bored and desperate to report anything, anything at all, that they habitually eat their own tails by reporting on each other's reporting (a sure sign of oversupply).

A far as I can figure out, this idea is all about saying "We're as good as them, we're a credit to our race, we can be credentialed". OK. I suppose there's some "morale" value in that. I can even see there'd be personal promotion opportunities arising from the volunteers being noticed by Big Bloggerdom.

But a concept that it would be so nifty-keen to tread the same ground that dozens of others will strip-mine, or to search like a starving dog for some morsel of substance which has been overlooked by the scavenger pack, all for the glory of blogkind - well, that just leaves me cold. It's the classic imitation of form. Because there will be no substance almost by definition (because there's no there there, in a modern political convention).

By Seth Finkelstein | posted in cyberblather | on May 07, 2004 04:18 PM (Infothought permalink) | Followups
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Hmm.. you're missing the point.

Every person who reposts a newspaper link adds his/her flair of personality to it. Even if it's a "WTF"? Then they also provide a comment form, where a sort of community of regular readers is engaged in discussion. That is the value. The filter of personality.

You'll never buy into the famous among dozens idea, will you :)?

Posted by: Firas at May 7, 2004 08:37 PM

Firas: In the above, I'm talking about the concept of getting formal press credentials, to go and be unpaid, volunteer, journalists during the political conventions.

Regarding sounding-off, I understand the appeal of it :-). But as I say, opinions are like noses (to be euphemistic), everyone has one, and thinks theirs smells best.

Posted by: Seth Finkelstein at May 8, 2004 11:57 AM