Story location:

August 2, 2004

Post Convention De-Briefing: You Ask the Questions

Readers, your blog is ready to be de-briefed. I went to Boston for my own reasons (to improve PressThink) and as your correspondent. Now I'm back. I saw a lot, and tried to make sense of it. Shoot me a question and I will try to answer over the next week or so. The blogging of Boston goes on because the campaign does. We're all participants in making sense of it. So help me out. Debrief a blog today and clarify the convention.

TV has failed to involve people in the conventions. The energy felt by the people in the hall is cooled by the small screen. Blogging is a warm medium. You know the writer. I find I’m drawn to the convention via some of my usual day’s diet of blogs, and then link to other coverage from them.
Ed Cone at his weblog, July 27.

This post is an experiment. But so was credential-the-bloggers an experiment, and I tried to approach my “job” in Boston that way. Test some ideas. Try things: for me, audio blogging was one.

Being thrown into a new situation—and every blogger there was in a new situation, historically speaking—should be a chance for “firsts” of some kind. So this is a PressThink first. A public de-briefing. Sure, it’s kind of a gimmick. It’s also a frank attempt to involve you in my version of “convention coverage”— the reflection part after.

It works like this. I went to Boston for my own reasons (to advance PressThink’s fortunes) but also as your correspondent— “you” being anyone who happens by this address and especially those who linger. The mini-public of a weblog. Now I’m back, public. I saw a lot and tried to make sense of it.

This is your chance to de-brief the author, who can report back under his own power—and will, in other posts—but who thinks it wise, and rather in the spirit of what we’re doing, to let others into the act, especially this one, Boston in 2004, with the whole credentialing drama attached. Some things that could happen on their own don’t happen unless you set aside a public space for them. This is the space.

So… shoot me a good question (with commentary attached, or without) and I will try to answer here, over the next week or longer. Thus: it unrolls. For me, the blogging of the convention goes on, just as the campaign for president goes on.

Got a question for your roving correspondent back from Boston? Does it concern PressThink, the weblog but also the think itself? Then hit the comment button and you have the floor. It’s an open air press conference— intended as further extension of my reporting. I got the image from the open air talk radio section at the Fleet Center. (Described in this audio interview Chris Lydon did with me on the morning after the event, over eggs and coffee at the Logan Hilton.)

If you want, you can participate via comments. Or you can email PressThink, and I will work it into the post somehow. Don’t wait for me to call on you. (Real names and email addresses are always better.)

Background: PressThink’s Reporting From the Convention

Go here for my first report, on the conventions pointing backwards in political time, here for the second, an interview with the event’s “CEO,” and here for a third, which includes an audio interview with Thomas Edsall of the Washington Post, and this is the fourth, arguing that Al Queda also came to the convention.

In Boston, I also wrote a quick viewer’s guide for the Kerry speech, but that I could have done from home. Still, it was part of PressThink’s convention coverage because it was part of blogging an event live, which means writing into or “at” people’s experience of the event as it unfolds.

I am going to be reporting from Toronto for the next week, as a participant in the annual journalism professor’s shindig, which has traveled to Canada this year after recent stops in Miami and Kansas City. (Very excited about the pre-convention worshop on Public and Participatory Journalism.) But blogging is portable. Some say relentless. Answering from Canada should have it own advantages.

I realized after the big publicity blitz that the interesting part of story in Boston, and the intellectually challenging part, wasn’t the blogg-ers at the convention; it was the trickier problem of bringing your weblog, which also means your style of doing one, “into” the convention and its confusing swirl of events. It was relatively easy to get me there. The hard part was having PressThink there: operating the blog in the wild, so to speak.

Ed Cone: “While bloggers in Boston were feeling their way toward a new role in politics — I’ve been saying all along that the value of that experience will show up in the weeks and months ahead, it didn’t end with the convention…” He’s right.

Readers, your blog is ready to be de-briefed.

Posted by Jay Rosen at August 2, 2004 1:02 AM