[FoRK] Fwd: STRATEGY & INSIGHT: Cybertourists in Boston
Ian Andrew Bell (FoRK)
fork at ianbell.com
Mon Aug 2 08:43:26 PDT 2004
I don't think that there was much of an expectation by anybody that
they'd be breaking news... but offering unique insights into the
goings-on would be a start, I suppose.
The lesson is that blogging is just a tool, and watching a political
convention from the cheap seats at Fleet Center is no different (in
fact, it's probably worse) than watching it on CSPAN or CNN. Clearly,
the bloggers were allowed into the forum, but were then corralled into
the distant back rows -- they are sitting amongst the proles in the
gallery watching the great pantomime that is a Merkin political
convention. Are we expecting Deep Throat -esque revelations here? I
doubt very much that any of them had the credentials to rub shoulders
with anyone short of the lineup to the bathroom, and really how much
in-depth insight can one glean from either locale? Besides, I think
the Clintons get their own special bathroom at these things..
For better and for worse, Blogging is not journalism. It is (quite
literally, in this case) a great medium for taking pot shots from the
cheap seats, and that isn't required to be particularly timely.
On 2-Aug-04, at 1:16 AM, Luis Villa wrote:
> On Sat, 31 Jul 2004 09:19:47 +0530, Udhay Shankar N <udhay at pobox.com>
>> What do the blogers here think? Whump?
> I wouldn't call myself a blogger (though I blog) but this article
> seems to have fairly broken assumptions- basically, that blogs are
> successful iff they replicate the experience of the traditional media.
> I'm not going to say that there was necessarily anything interesting
> coming out of the boston blogging group, but expecting them to break
> news when completely out of their element is silly.
> (And it's not like the traditional media had anything interesting to
> say from Boston either; it just had higher production values.)
>> CNET | STRATEGY & INSIGHT
>>> The pundits' take on the hottest trends and events affecting
>>> business and technology.
>>> July 30, 2004
>>> Cybertourists in Boston
>>> Professional politicians aren't famous for being early to embrace
>>> new technology. So when the Democrats extended credentials to
>>> bloggers to cover the party's national convention in Boston, I
>>> was left pleasantly stunned.
>>> With all the pageantry and circuslike atmospherics that make up
>>> an American political convention, you couldn't ask for a better
>>> backdrop to show off blogging's potential. In full view of the
>>> rest of the journalistic world, here would be the most welcome--
>>> albeit belated--recognition yet by the establishment that the
>>> consumption of media is changing before our eyes.
>>> All the more disappointing, then, to report back that blogging
>>> blew its big chance in Beantown.
>>> With a few exceptions, most of the credentialed bloggers came off
>>> like cyberhayseeds in the big city. Most dared for the painfully
>>> obvious as they updated their posts. The entries I read ranged
>>> from the insufferably pedantic to the sublimely mediocre. There
>>> were exceptions, of course, but the see-me, hear-me tenor of
>>> their reporting was only exceeded by the vapidity of the banal
>>> commentaries peddled as analyses.
>>> Did they get co-opted? Sure seems that way at first glance. Maybe
>>> the ego-lifting moment of their 15 minutes of prime-time fame got
>>> in the way of clear thinking. Or maybe they were simply star
>>> struck at rubbing shoulders in the line for the men's room with
>>> folks like Ben Affleck and Warren Beatty. I remember covering my
>>> first political convention as a college junior in 1976 and how
>>> wowed I was when bandleader Peter Duchin deigned to smile at me.
>>> But these are big boys and girls. After spending years belittling
>>> the shortcomings of the mainstream media, they had me expecting
>>> more. Instead, I had to content myself with gems such as, "Bill
>>> Clinton looks really small from the upper tiers of the Fleet
>>> Center." Really? If that knocks your socks off, my advice would
>>> be to take in the view from the bleachers at Fenway Park
>>> Whatever the reason, few came to town with their "A" game. And
>>> that's a shame, because I'm sure many from the world of
>>> mainstream media left town thinking they had little to worry
>>> about if this is the best the blogging world can produce.
>>> Truth be told, it's especially frustrating to have to write these
>>> lines because I still believe blogging is one of the most
>>> exciting developments of the last five years.
>>> When the Internet began to gain traction in the mid-1990s, I got
>>> jazzed by the promise of a new journalism. At the time the media
>>> landscape was otherwise bleak. With ownership concentrated in
>>> relatively few hands, the idea of a multiplicity of viewpoints
>>> existing in a world of Big Media rang quite hollow.
>>> The Internet changed all that. First came the zines, the small,
>>> independent online magazines that sprouted during the heyday of
>>> the bubble. But when the economics of the business put an end to
>>> that experiment, blogging moved into the vacuum. With their nose
>>> pressed up against the glass, as befits any group of outsiders,
>>> blogging pioneers such as Dave Winer regularly lambasted the
>>> shortcomings of big media, offering fresh alternatives to the
>>> usual spin. It was new and exciting, and the mainstream world
>>> only belatedly caught on to what was taking place right under its
>>> Until this week, bloggers enjoyed the luxury--and the right--
>>> afforded to all armchair critics. They could take the easy pot
>>> But as they took their place alongside other credentialed media,
>>> bloggers finally had to put up or shut up. I don't know how many
>>> would ever admit this gig was a lot more difficult than it looked
>>> from the outside. But with the pressure on to work under the same
>>> constraints mainstream hacks have to contend with on a daily
>>> basis for eternity--Get the story, get it right in all its
>>> complexity and oh, by the way, get it in 10 minutes ago--they
>>> were found wanting.
>>> Charlie Cooper, Executive Editor/Commentary
>>> mailto:charles.cooper at cnet.com
>> ((Udhay Shankar N)) ((udhay @ pobox.com)) ((www.digeratus.com))
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