Sunday, October 01, 2006

"When Bloggers and Political Candidates Collide"

The Indiana Coalition for Open Government and the Indy Pro Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists are sponsoring "When Bloggers and Political Candidates Collide" at noon on Tuesday, October 3 at the Glendale Branch Library, Glendale Mall. Seventh District congressional candidates Rep. Julia Carson and her Republican opponent Eric Dickerson are invited. Bloggers Jennifer Wagner, Indiana Democratic Party communications director; Abdul Hakim Shabazz, radio talk show host; and RiShawn Biddle, Indianapolis Star editorial page writer, will participate.

A few people have asked me about this event and why I'm not participating on the panel since I've probably blogged more than any local bloggers on the 7th District congressional race. I was contacted a few weeks back by Kyle Niederpruem, a former Star reporter who now works for the Indiana Coalition for Open Government about participating in future events planned by the her organization. She tells me that she is interested in my participation in a larger event planned for next year, which will likely include several area bloggers, just not this event on Tuesday.

For some of us, it gets back to the old debate of what constitutes a blogger. I think Steph Mineart of A Commonplace Book will agree with me on this point. Each of the bloggers scheduled for Tuesday's events do their work as bloggers in connection with their full-time paid positions. Shabazz and Biddle are full-time journalists. Wagner is a full-time communications director for the Democratic Party. Yes, they are all bloggers as well, but they are quite different from fellow bloggers like Mineart, Bil Browning, Doug Masson, StAllio, Ruth Holladay, Mitch Harper, Marcia Oddi, Zach Wendling et al who are truly independent, unpaid bloggers. This latter group, in which I include myself, is more closely allied with what Internet junkies consider to be true bloggers who write to have their views heard, often which are overlooked by the mainstream media. It's a distinction some may consider subtle, but it's a major distinction to traditional bloggers like myself.

I would encourage folks to attend the event. I haven't heard any confirmation on whether either or both of the candidates will attend. I hope both will participate. I don't believe my schedule will allow me to leave work in the middle of the day on Tuesday to attend, but I hope to hear back from those who can make the event.

19 comments:

Wilson46201 said...

I've been debating on whether to attend myself. It does appear to be an attempt to "professionalize" blogging, to bring blogs into the traditional conventional wisdom structure. The power of blogs is precisely independence and the contention of ideas and information.

Anonymous said...

My blogworld education continues. Thanks, Gary.

But I don't consider your blog any more pure than fulltimers' blogs. Just more variety. I enjoy them all.

Who's the bubblehead who planned this event for midday, anyway? It would be fun to attend but I have a life. LOL

Bil Browning said...

Thanks for the mention, Gary! Yeah, I have to admit - since we covered the Carson vs Kiser brouhaha (which you have to admit - was definitely a case of bloggers and a candidate colliding! Hell, we were threatened with a lawsuit!) it would have been nice to be invited as well... I agree that the invited bloggers are more "corporate" than we are.

Wilson46201 said...

Most of the invited folk seem to do these sort of things as part of their job so it's only natural for it to be scheduled during "normal 8-5 working hours". It wasn't scheduled for the convenience of the general public. Ever heard of a Cher Concert at noontime?

Anonymous said...

It shows on Eric Dickerson's web site that he will be attending.

There is no public way to confirm if Julia Carson will attend.

ruth holladay said...

Gary, thanks for the mention, and what an honor to be included in the category of true bloggers. I plan to drive in from Putnam to hear "that noise," which is how Dennis Ryerson referred to some of us who blog.
Also, sometime next year, we'll be launching indyrats.com -- the alternative to indystar.com. Not sure how that will go, and nobody is expecting a red cent, but it will be fun to continue to make "that noise" and extend it to arts coverage, whatever.
Cheers, Gary, and thanks for excellent reading and insight over the past couple months.

Wilson46201 said...

I just spoke to Ms. Carson - she doesn't plan to attend. She has some other events already scheduled that day...

Abdul said...

Ladies and Gentlemen, if I may interject for just a moment. I was flattered by the invitation but I believe the true measure of blog is not why you do it, but how accurate you are.

Anything I do at Indiana Barrister is on my own and not part of my job at WXNT. In fact the reason I started blogging was, in part, because management thought some of the issues were either too heavy for the radio or not broad enough for the public, so instead of letting hard work and inside information go by the wayside, I blogged and found a home for the stuff in my head.

I think all blogs, like the traditional media, rise and fall on their own merits, not necessarily the name attached. Hell, none of us know Indy Undercover, but everybody reads him, her or it.

I think we all do a good job of providing the public with a good cross section of information that TOGETHER gives them an informed picture of what's going on here. I say keep it up.

Cheers to all!!!

Anonymous said...

Wilson46201 said...

I just spoke to Ms. Carson - she doesn't plan to attend. She has some other events already scheduled that day...

------------

That is nice you have such an inside track to Ms. Carson - any way the rest of the world can get that info ?

Is anyone else Ms. Carson's staff or campaign plan to attend ?

Wilson46201 said...

It's likely somebody from her campaign staff will attend - it's the kind of thing they do ...

Steph Mineart said...

"But I believe the true measure of blog is not why you do it, but how accurate you are."

That's the funniest thing I've heard today -- the implication being, of course, that those of us who aren't professional journalists slumming on a side blog are somehow less fact-based and accurate than the "real" journalists like Abdul Hakim Shabazz, Rishawn Biddle or Matt Tully.

The only difference between you guys and us is that we have other full time jobs, and you guys have a more appropriate place to air your views, but you's slumming because it's trendy and your company is chasing a popculture zeitgeist.

Anonymous said...

"It's likely somebody from her campaign staff will attend - it's the kind of thing they do ..."

And you (Wilson) showing up just to take pictures of the Eric Dickerson supporters and report back to Julia so her goons can intimidate them later doesn't count.

Wilson46201 said...

the last AnonyMouse needs to lay off that funky stuff ... it's making you paranoid. Do you think this is George Bush's Iraq or sumtin' ?

Anonymous said...

"Do you think this is George Bush's Iraq or sumtin' ?"

No. Worse. Julia Carson's Indianapolis.

Wilson46201 said...

AnonyMouse - watch out! The Shiites gonna get ya if ya dont watch out! Boo!

(apologies to James Whitcomb Riley)

Steph Mineart said...

After sleeping on it, I think I should add to my thoughts: to me, the "the true measure of blog" is "Does it bring to light information that it's audience would otherwise have overlooked?"

When I'm choosing news items to blog about, I'm conscious that the primary part of my readers are my rather sprawling family and my circle of friends. I ask myself:

"Is this something they're not going to hear somewhere else?"

"Is this something that affects them?"

"Is it cool or interesting to me?"

Anonymous said...

Gary, Abdul posted this on your blog "I believe the true measure of blog is not why you do it, but how accurate you are."

Last week he posted this on his blog about Heather Bolejack:

"The former head of the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute was let go on grounds of official misconduct."

He is wrong - very wrong and in his statement I believe he has libeled this young woman.

Official misconduct is a criminal charge and at this point there has been none. Even if there was a violation of an internal policy, there's substantial precedent of Indiana case law that established that an official violation of an internal policy cannot form the basis for a criminal finding of official misconduct.

Further, the much maligned party, Michael McKenna, has been fully examined and what he showed the media and state officials has proved contrary to irresponsible comments made by local media and blogs who parroted soundbytes that were baseless and biased.

Quoting Abdul again "I believe the true measure of blog is not why you do it, but how accurate you are." If I were a lawyer I'd conclude with saying 'I rest my case.'

Fed up said...

Heather Bolejack is at it again.

Got a job yet girl?

How's the mortgage?

If you clean that nasty attitude of your's up, maybe life will start to smile on you a little.

Anonymous said...

What a nasty, mean-spirited posting. No, I am not Heather Bolejack but she is known to me and many others in the community as a bright, hard-working woman who has a continuous record going back to her youth of achievement. A record that 'haters' like yourself are doing their level best to destroy. I think the malicious campaign to hurt her borders on criminal. Members of her family and others have been threatened to keep their mouths shut. Imagine being raped then being told to keep your mouth shut or you'll be killed. I think that's a fair assessment of what the Bolejack family is feeling right now. Apparently you are happy about that. How sick!