Thursday, August 28, 2008

Why I started reading Web Logs in the first place...

In 2004, I had just heard of this new thing called the web log...soon to be known as a blog. In those days, journalists and writers were still referring to it as "blog" -- an unknown slang word that was always written in quotes.

That summer, I heard someplace that the Democratic National Convention had decided to give press passes to a small number of "bloggers," and I went for a peek at their "blogs." Loving what I found there, it was easy to become an avid reader of Daily Kos, Crooks and Liars, Talking Points Memo, The Drudge Report, etc.

From those blogs I wandered to treehugger blogs...gossip & TV blogs...and so on and so forth.

Now here we are at the convention again 4 years later... this year is a Web site that shows the first live high-definition streaming of gavel-to-gavel convention proceedings, using the same new Microsoft platform that made its debut at the Olympics. The site offers a complete Spanish-language simulcast, for the first time.

The site features its first daily convention Web cast, which previews that night’s program and serves up convention tidbits — snippets of Michelle Obama’s video in advance, for example — and includes “by the numbers” tallies, like the gallons of coffee made and miles of cable laid.

Speaking of numbers, the log of credentialed bloggers this year has more than tripled, to 120 from 35 in 2004, the first year they were allowed in.

And bloggers now have a rotating position on the podium, just as print and television reporters have. The convention has also created a state blogger corps, giving credentials to one blogger from each state, a system that has irked many who felt it unnecessarily limited their number.

But Google, DailyKos and others are sponsoring a “Big Tent” within a short walk of the Pepsi grounds where hundreds of bloggers are sitting shoulder to shoulder at long tables and pounding on their keyboards and taking video of each other most of the day and night. It cost them $100 for a space for the week. It’s air-conditioned and does not involve security lines: the only line is for media types who are not blogging but coming in for a look. They have to sign in at a table marked “Traditional Media,” not the most welcome group in bloggerland.

...The convention also has its own blogging team. The 2004 convention had a blogger too; the difference this year is that there is a team and it also posts lots of videos (remember — YouTube did not exist four years ago).

Things have changed alrighty.

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