July 07, 2004

Democratic National Convention and Blog Coverage

So, the Topic Of The Day is that a few A-list'ish bloggers are getting press credentials to be Certified As Journalists for the purposes of the Democratic National Convention (see Jay Rosen's extensive essay Convention Coverage is a Failed Regime and Bloggers Have Their Credentials).

To sum up my view, in a few words:

Political Conventions == Pep Rallies

That limits the options. One can do a sort of anthropology, a dissection of the Deep Meaning Of It All. Or a General Reflection On The Body Politic. Or take a narrative approach along the lines of "What will the Young turks, The Marvericks, Those Wild And Grazy Guys And Gals, uncover that the Old Guard has missed?"

But if there is no there there, being there won't create a there (except in a self-referential navel-gazing manner).

Look, anyone who has the time and can afford to travel to a political party's convention, is doing it for some reason which puts them far outside the realm of ordinary citizen. It's their business in some sense. They're a journalist themselves, or want to be one, or do study of journalism, or associated in various others ways (selling people on ways to do journalism, counts, strongly). Nobody cares outside of this media incest orgy or the hardest-core political junkies.

Going further down that path leads to A-list revenge, so I'll stop here.

By Seth Finkelstein | posted in politics | on July 07, 2004 11:59 PM (Infothought permalink) | Followups
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Yes, Seth, conventions are pep rallies. But the conventions are also events of great significance and which generate massive coverage by all the news outlets. Thus having bloggers there makes sense.

All sorts of arguments might be raised over who indeed deserves credentials. These arguments have been waged for years among the print journalists. Same in TV -- which newsfeed syndicates are worthy of credentials is always cause for a major flap. Each time around, some major satellite feed service (or services) gets dissed, misses out on being in the pool, and makes a strink over it.

In this nascent moment, that it is the so-called A-list bloggers who have received the anointing nod of credentials, seems a lesser concern. That blogs are now accepted in this grand moment as a form of news dissemination is a major step forward. Bloggers are now operating in parallel, and on a par with other news distribution services

This is a good thing.

Allow me also to disagree with your allegation that

Nobody cares outside of this media incest orgy or the hardest-core political junkies

In fact, these coronations are a major source of entertainment, and the interest level is very high. That, and the supporting ad revenues that come from that, is why such vast media resourecs are devoted to coverage of the conventions.

Even in a time when surprises or breaking news are nearly completely out of the offing or expectation, the two confabs will be defining moments, and will capture the interest of many who otherwise would be paying little if any attention to political news, or the news at all.


Posted by: Dean Landsman at July 8, 2004 02:42 AM

Perhaps because I saw this all go around before, in terms of "Are-Internet-News-Sites-Really-Journalism?", I'm extremely unimpressed. From my perspective, nothing very notable at all has happened. The exact same kinds of people are doing the exact same things, with some sorting among them as to which specific people are going to this specific event. Ho-hum.

There's nothing absolutely wrong with it. I'm not saying they shouldn't go as a moral imperative, that the event should be boycotted. But rationally, the number of journalists there is way, way, past any point of diminishing returns. When there are so many reporters with nothing to do except to try to find something to do, that someone else hasn't already done, that is a sure sign of overkill.

Posted by: Seth Finkelstein at July 8, 2004 06:36 AM