Vague Plans for Bloggers at Republican Convention

Mary Katharine Ham
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Posted: Dec 05, 2007 11:33 AM
Matt Burns, director of communications for the Republican Convention, spoke about having bloggers at the Republican Convention during a recent walk-through of the facilities for media. (Video at the link)

His answers are mostly good for bloggers, but more than a little vague. Republicans will be credentialing independent bloggers, but it's unclear how many or how they'll decide that number. Burns alluded to "reaching out" at an unspecified time to gauge interest and moving from there.

The media asking the questions in the video clip is predictably snooty about  bloggers, asking how the RNC will "deal" with the fact that many independent bloggers are-- gasp!--partisan. Heaven forfend that informed, active conservative citizen journalists would cover an event of great interest to their informed, active conservative audiences.

Both parties are beginning planning for blogger presence earlier than in 2004, and planning to incorporate more bloggers this time around, but the Democratic Convention is already accepting blogger applications, and the rhetoric about involving them is somewhat more encouraging:
"Bloggers can give you 24-hour coverage of the convention, of the delegate meetings, of the caucuses, of the parties,” Mr. Rosenberg said. “Everything that goes on, the bloggers can be there to cover.” This includes speeches not delivered in prime time or too late for East Coast print deadlines.

“Bloggers have shown that they have access and they have reach, and their words can be just as influential as those of traditional media,” he added. “They have a very strong connection with their readers. They can sway elections and move message and that’s something we want to take advantage of.”

Burns said he'd like to get bloggers involved remotely who can't come from their home bases to Denver, allowing them to interact with surrogates and other speakers using technology, but also spoke of "space" limitations in determining who gets credentialed. Like I said, not bad news, but not terribly encouraging.

We'll see where this heads. They'll get it together, but I'd like to see a little more detail from an RNC operative who clearly knows the blogosphere.