May 19, 2007

ONA Conference In The Media

Given that this week's Online News Association had so many people from the media field, it doesn't seem surprising that it made its way into the news stream. Two articles covered the ONA conference on the convergence of traditional media, New Media, and political campaigns. Both report on the first panel only. First, we have Gene Koprowski from the Tech Daily Dose, courtesy of Danny Glover at Beltway Blogroll, talking about holding fingers to the blogospheric wind:

Political campaigns are now relying on blogs to "test market" new messages with small, niche audiences before transforming them into full-release commercials and press releases, Republican and Democratic consultants said Thursday.

The trend started on the state level but is going national with the 2008 presidential campaigns, experts said here at the Online News Association's regional conference.

Wisconsin Republican strategist Brian Fraley indicated that statewide blogs are an excellent tool to "test ideas -- and see if they are press release worthy." He said campaigns overall are now devoting more staffing and money to monitoring and cultivating bloggers and online sites.

In the Q&A of the panel, I argued that the blogs were another form of media and need to understand that campaigns will view us and other new media with the same cautious eye as any other reporter. Scott Bauer of the AP noted that this was a theme:

"If online news hasn't changed the way you run campaigns, you're not running campaigns," said Fraley, who worked for Republican Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen's successful campaign last year and runs the Web site.

Political consultants are scared to death that a gaffe by their candidate will spread like wildfire online and derail their campaign, said Vaughn Ververs, senior political editor of

"I think they're becoming more cautious than ever before, they're more scripted than ever before," he said. "I don't know what it's going to take to break through that."

Bloggers need to understand that they are part of the media, just a different form of it, said Ed Morrissey, political director for Campaigns and bloggers have a "mutually symbiotic relationship" in that they will each use one another for their own needs, Morrissey said.

"Its a long way of saying we're both whores," he said.

That line got a laugh at the conference, but it came in response to both Brian Fraley and Ted Osthelder calling themselves whores to get their campaign message out any way they can. A question came up about access for bloggers and how it hadn't proceeded past the journalist stage, but we have to understand that we can be just as dangerous now as a reporter for the Washington Post. Not only do our observations hit the Internet in the same way, but newspapers and television will eventually pick those stories up from the New Media faster than you can say "macaca".

Both articles give a good overview of the first panel. If you want to know what transpired in the other panels, my posts are here and here. A live recording of the last panel, on which I served, can be streamed here.


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Comments (1)

Posted by Captain Ed | May 20, 2007 12:00 PM

checking ....