Back from the Conference
Saturday, June 17, 2006 :::
I just arrived home from the blog conference in C'ville and, like a dedicated geek (or actually, someone who is just avoiding lawn work), I rushed to the computer to offer my thoughts.
First, a disclaimer: I was unable to attend the Friday events due to a crazy thing called work (who schedules creative meetings on Friday afternoons? Account executives...a.k.a. the bane of every creative's existence).
I sat in on two seminars, one on ethics, where Shaun Kenney shared the stage with others, but stole the show. In general, I think the ethics conversation is somewhat beside the point. Those who lack judgment, or ethics or whatever one wishes to call it will find themselves unread an irrelevant. Conversely, those who try to maintain a consistent set of personal standards will earn their reader's trust.
The other panel I listened to dealt with the press and bloggers. Are bloggers journalists and vice versa? I'd never call myself a journalist. Or a reporter, for that matter. I think Rick Sincere had it exactly right: we're writers.
At the luncheon, LTG Bill Bolling gave the opening remarks which seemed to be well (or at least politely) received. He was also working the crowd...as was Del. Brian Moran.
Then came Mike Shear, who had some rather hard words for bloggers in general. But his overall points, that we are not journalists, that we do not have the same sort of vetting process that makes our commentary reliable or objective, and that there are lines we or our comment writers cross that would never be crossed in a print publication are worth considering. I suppose at this point, I am less concerned with those distinctions, real as they are, than with how the internet itself is changing the way newspapers gather information and market themselves. Blogging cannot compare in reach or influence to a daily newspaper. That ought to be self-evident. At the same time, it should also be self-evident that online efforts like blogs are changing newspapers' business models before our eyes.
But aside from the presentations, it was the people that mattered most. It was good to see old friends like Steve Sisson, Nick Howard,Rick Sincere, and Conaway Haskins once more. But it was also a genuine treat to finally meet Kat, Chris, Vivian and James, and to renew my acquaintance with Brian.
That's the true value of conferences like these. And I look forward to riding along with Will Vehrs to the other C'ville conference in August to see some of these same folks once again, and to finally meet others whom I've read for so long, but never met.
::: posted by Norman Leahy at 6/17/2006