As Dowbrigade reported, the net access from the blogger blockade on the seventh floor was pretty bad, so I went to dinner with Nico who I know from the Dean campaign, and then watched the speeches back at my hotel. I was less glued to the keyboard, and nodding out at times. It's been an exhausting week and it finally caught up with me. A few notes before signing off for the day...
First it wouldn't be a Democratic convention if we didn't run a picture of Michael Dukakis in the tank. I've been looking for a way to sneak that in. Gotcha. About the Kerry speech, it was so hard to watch. I wish I were watching it on TiVO so I could hit pause and catch my breath as he moved from topic to topic at utterly inhuman speeds. This guy is a very unnatural public speaker. It looks like they worked on getting him succinct, now they have to get him to work on the breathing. The crowd kept wanted to be part of the event and the candidate simply wouldn't let them in. Oh well, anything's better than Bush.
Jay Rosen writes that he is not an official RNC blogger, he's going to be part of the Knight-Ridder team. I suspect many bloggers (such as myself) will wrangle an invite in this fashion. I got the news from Jay while I was still in the press filing room. One of my deskmates who works at a BigPub said his organizatioin hadn't been contacted by the RNC yet, so there's still time. Good. I want to be there. It would be a shame not to be able to contrast the two conventions. One difference I already know about, there's a dress code at the RNC, apparently. I've been wearing jeans and nice shirts and shoes, which is pretty dressed-up for me. On the first two days I wore a blazer. That caused John Palfrey to gasp with surprise. Dave -- blazer? Well I actually own a few, but you would never know it based on how I dressed at Harvard.
CNN is waxing about how well Kerry spoke. Come on admit it. Those choppy hand movements were almost other-worldly. What was he thinking? Anyway, he's the only guy to vote for in 2004. Dubya? Only if you want more wars.
Jack Hodgson is blogging the Oshkosh air show.
Jay Rosen says, via email, that he's been given permission to blog the Republican National Convention.
Globe and Mail: "Bloggers are rushing in to fill a void, one that was once held by local newspapers."
Behind the scenes in the press filing room at the DNC. There's a point to these pictures. How different do these people look from people you'd meet at a blogger's conference? They have a passion for information, take pride in their craft, are competitive, and are always trying to do better. They laugh at the same kinds of jokes we do. Like the bloggers at the DNC, these tend to be the good ones, the ones who care.
Walking from Copley Plaza to Fleet Center on a hot Thursday.
The same walk on a sub-zero Sunday in February 2000. Today it was a bit warmer, in the mid-80s and quite humid.
2PM: Arrived at Fleet Center. Walked here from Copley Square, taking lots of pictures. As I arrived at the hall, Carol King was rehearsing for her performance tonight, singing You've Got A Friend. She's amazing. I got a couple of pictures.
From France: "Les bloggers, guest stars de la convention democrate."
Next event, my live interview on WHYY Philadelphia. I love saying that. It's what Terry Gross says just before (or after, I can't remember) Fresh Air, in her Jonathan Schwartz-like faux-sincere radio-voice.
Matt Stoller, a convention blogger, mildly criticized Democratic wunderkind Barack Obama, who gave a brief and totally uninspiring talk at the blogger's breakfast. Apparently, this comment caused the DNCC to "sever its affiliation with Stoller and remove his name from the blog of the committee's Web site." As a volunteer for the DNCC, Matt was instrumental in getting us to Boston, acting as a go-between for the bloggers and the DNCC. I don't know the details, but it's sad that such an innocent comment could be made so important. Obama was flustered when he spoke to the bloggers, Matt actually got it right, whether or not they want to work with him.
AP: "As a member of the traditional media, I don't believe I need to look for a new job yet." Same old story. Lead: Are bloggers going to change everything? Twelve graphs. Whew. Turns out my job is safe. But tell me this, why should readers care if your job is safe? And they say bloggers are self-obsessed.
Why can't the press get the URL of this site right? I've seen all kinds of variants in the last few days, some of which are real pages on one of my sites, but are not my weblog. In the write-up on the WHYY interview above they break new ground and list an address that's 404. Reminds me of the old days when we would typeset manuals, and the print designers would insist on typesetting the screen shots. Of course they'd introduce errors, and the users, who didn't use typeset computer screens, must have felt a disconnect. Eventually, I fired the typesetters and we ran actual screen shots. Advice to our brothers and sisters in print, radio and TV, you gotta test the URLs, and it helps to have a mailto icon that goes directly to someone respoinsible for the content so errors can quickly be corrected. Imagine the diligent WHYY listener who wants to visit my blog before hearing my BS. I suppose they would Google me. Okay that works. Sighhh.
Another dirty little secret from Kos. "One person collects all their credentials, walks out the Fleet Center, and returns with a whole new group. Lather. Rinse. Repeat." That's how the Fleet gets so over-full.
Matt Haughey notes that Fox only shows small parts of convention speeches, without context. They are able to do this because like all press at the show, they get advance copies of the speeches. Maybe this is why the Dems shouldn't distribute advance copies. All reporters have laptops. The whole thing could be webbed and distribution would be instantaneous. It would also defeat the Dewey Beats Truman stuff we saw yesterday. The Dems should go to a Steve Jobs event and see how they do it at Apple. There's an art to making dull announcements seem exciting. I bet Steve could have rolled out the program Edwards launched yesterday with a lot more sitting on the edge of the seats than we saw. (But Steve could probably learn a few tricks from the Dems. They have a lot more users.)
Want another dirty little secret? Of course you do. You can't hear what the speakers are saying from up in the blogger cocktail lounge on the seventh floor. It's all mumbled and fuzzy. Rebecca, Jesse and I read the transcript of the Edwards speech while he was giving it, he didn't deviate much, but he didn't read the exact speech either. All the other speakers were totally jumbled. To hear what they actually say I have to try to catch it on C-SPAN after the show back in the hotel room. This leads to my second feature request. How about a live audio webcast, on the LAN in the convention, so we can put on headphones and hear the speakers' actual words in real-time. We've tried using the C-SPAN webcast, and it works (though not well on the flaky WiFi setup) -- but here's the problem -- there's a five-ten second delay. So the crowd is erupting while we're hearing the buildup. Not very good. Eventually I gave up on that approach, and just tried to figure out the mood by watching and listening as best I could without technical assistance.
We got some excellent swag at last night's blogger's party hosted by Nancy Pelosi, the House Minority Leader. Usually you get worthless crap but these guys know how to spend money. First a hand-held WiFi dectector, something I had heard of but never used. Instead of having to boot up your laptop to find out if you're in range of a WiFi router, with this guy you just press a button and if the light goes on, you have a signal. Very useful, goes in the knapsack for sure. The other cool thing is a little USB disk drive. How nice I thought, I wonder if they put any MP3s on it. Well they did, but not the Grateful Dead or Sting or Stevie Wonder. They put speeches from various Representatives. Okay it's not music but it is creative. Someone put some thought into it. Coooool.
One more time: The Blogger's Theme Song.
Minnesota Public Radio: Kerry Nominated.
Kaye Trammell passes on a cartoon from a pro who wonders about the qualifications of bloggers.
Danah Boyd: "More and more, journalists are thanking bloggers for new slants. The competition between journalists and bloggers for readers' attention results in more diverse and compelling coverage."
US Constitution: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."
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