Saturday, December 30, 2006

Vloggers are voters, not reporters

Steve Garfield posted an interesting entry in Off On A Tangent today about his experience with the John Edwards campaign in a special "bloggers only" meeting that had been arranged in New Hampshire. I think part of difficulty he encountered was that the campaign, and to a certain extent the bloggers themselves consider bloggers to be essentially reporters. Different clothes, maybe, smaller cameras, but still, reporters. The good part to this is that at least some of them enjoy access and time with the candidate that the general public doesn't get. The bad part is that they are perceived as "the press" - a channel through which to deliver the message, rather than (and this is my big point) a voter to be met and to be shown the candidates up-close personality, and to be perhaps persuaded to vote for the candidate and to tell their friends (i.e., all their readers) that the candidate is a good guy, and maybe they should consider voting for him/her, too. To me, a blogger is less a reporter than a voter with a lot of friends. A candidate doesn't try to charm or convince a reporter like they do a voter.

There is a lot of conversation in the blogosphere lately about how objective bloggers should be when posting about political topics. Well first of all, there's room for a lot of different approaches. We're experimenting here, right? Let's throw some stuff at the wall and see what sticks.

If I was going to vlog about a campaign event or candidate, though, I wouldn't try to be like a professional reporter. The message of the video blog medium is personal connection. I'd act and want to be treated like a voter not a reporter. I want to get to know that candidate as a person. To let my instincts inform my decision. If I was a campaign manager, I'd think of vloggers as a way to make a personal connection between my candidate and the voters. Unless of course, my candidate is an ass, in which case, I'd want to keep them at a distance. Hmmm, could the access or lack thereof of a candidate to vloggers potentially be one metric for measuring the personal character of a candidate?

2 Comments:

Blogger Steve Garfield said...

Good thoughts. Thanks for posting.

Sat Dec 30, 06:41:00 AM PST  
Blogger Connecticut Man 1 said...

Video Bloggers usually come down in one of 3 camps when they are covering politics.

1. Activists
2. Citizen Journalists
3. A combination of the two

Activists generally have a pretty clear agenda. The environment, save the whales, elect politicians of certain parties they support, etc..

Then there are Citizen Journalists. There is a big difference between reporting and Citizen Journalism. Citizen Journalists have the freedom of writing what they want to without being censored or influenced by corporate owned entities. They also have the added benefit of being able to, and responsibity to, make corrections as neccessary when pointed out by the miliions of fact checkers available.

Nope, they are not reporters. They are better than reporters if they are responsible about it.

The same can be said about those that chose to use the written word in their Blogging.

ePluribusMedia is the perfect example of Citizen Journalism put into practice on a Blog since they were recently accepted to the Columbia Journalism School Sulzberger Leadership Program.

They achieved this by working hard to fact check the "diaries" and other sources that they assemble into works of high quality Journalism.

There is also a the reporter truned Blogger phenomenon to consider, as many Reporters are making the jump into Blogging on their own and bringing with them the reporters skills while being able to leave behind the corporate influence. Iraqslogger is an example of this.

To arbitrarily say that all Video Bloggers are not reporters is not really an easy line to prove. As their skills improve some will likely prove to be better than many of the MSM reporters.

This is still the early days of Blogging, and you ain't seen nothing yet!

Mon Jan 08, 02:03:00 PM PST  

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