Insider Ohio blogospheric baseball coming.? Duck!

I wanted to post on this well before now, but we were in the midst of re-designing PB, re-launching the site, and bringing new bloggers in and getting them comfortable with all the technical ins and outs here.? There aren’t really many technical hurdles, to be honest, but we were dealing with Russo and Hester.? Heh.

Potts’ began a multi-part series on the decline of blogging as we’ve known it.? In it, there are several points that need…um…clarifying.? There are also some I’ll take extreme issue with.

The first point of clarification is his use of the term “we”. I’m not sure who this “we” is that he refers to, but I don’t relate to any of the issues in his post. I think David might be projecting a bit onto other bloggers his own internal struggles with this blogging thing.

The underlying basis for the post is that blogging became mainstream and in doing so put us in a position of competing with the mainstream media. David even argues that “we” have tried to become the mainstream media. This is utter nonsense. If you are trying to be the mainstream media you’re doing it wrong. Blogging is about developing an individual – and sometimes collective – voice. It’s not about providing comprehensive coverage of this event or that. David laments:

I mean think about this. Two 20-somethings hop on planes to Denver and attempt to cover the Democratic National Convention.

There’s the first mistake right out of the gate. Going to Denver to “cover the DNC”. That is a bad goal. Of course you are going to get crushed in trying to do that. As he notes, the difference in resources are stark. BSB had laptops and cell phones. NBC had satellite trucks!

Oh my.

Here’s the truth of the matter. It doesn’t take any of the things David lists the MSM as having to have impact. Let’s remember that a guy from Ohio takes a video camera to a parking lot outside of a McCain-Palin event and captures some wingnuts talking about Barack Obama. Over a million YouTube views later the entire narrative of the most historic Presidential Election in American History is altered. Ask Tim how helpful satellite trucks or press risers would have been. Or hell, even credentials! He was in the fucking parking lot!!

How’d he do this?? He combined passion with knowledge and went merrily on his way.? He acted in a way that was totally inconsistent with any kind of journalistic training or mainstream media coverage goals.? He had a mission to expose those on the other side.? Those he had been emphatically blogging against for years.? He was true to himself and this was reflected in the video he created that was shown mulitple times on “mainstream media”.? It’s not that they missed the story – they did – it was that they were entirely incapable of producing it.

Here’s my recommendation to David and anyone else trying to get a handle on this blogging thing. Go get Hunter Thompson’s 1979 The Great Shark Hunt and read “The Kentucky Derby Is Decadent and Depraved”. This will give you an idea of how to “cover” an event, whether credentialed or not (Hunter was). When you’re done with that, get the classic “Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail“. It’ll cost you $4, but will be worth it’s weight in satellite trucks.? What Hunter was doing back in 1972 was blogging.? He called it gonzo journalism, but make no mistake.? This was the birth of blogging.

The main reason that I decided to write this post is because I think David’s post is instructional.? Bloggers need to dispense with this notion that they are trying to “cover” anything.? David is sniffing around the concept, but I don’t think he hits it squarely:

Instead we should have been going after stories the MSM was too lazy, intimidated, or biased to pursue.

This is pretty close, but the real value in having bloggers go to an event like this is to get an unvarnished, unedited, view of what’s happening from that bloggers known perspective.? You don’t need press risers, satellite trucks, or even credentials to do that.? Credentials, I’ll admit, are helpful.? Access is a good thing.? The reason that some of us were critical of BSB for the time in Denver is because we didn’t get anything from it.? Nothing is owed, of course, but if you are going to whine and lament after the trip it’s obvious that you wanted to bring something to your readers having gone.? I don’t remember anything from the BSB trip to Denver.? Possibly because I wasn’t as tuned in to blogs at the time, but more likely due to nothing especially valuable being blogged about it.

I’ll give him some credit.? David is attempting to regain his voice in this post and that is a really good thing.? I think he misses the essential point though.? There are no battle lines between laptop and satellite truck.? If anything, what we are experiencing is asymmetrical media warfare.? We have every bit as much of an advantage as they do.? Even more.? So stop lamenting the decline of blogging and just do it!

I’ll follow this up tomorrow with a look at some other issues brought up in the post, namely fundraising.