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Thursday, Jul 29, 2004, 2:06 pm


By Tracy Van Slyke

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This year's DNC is the "first convention covered by bloggers, those opinionated cyber-diarists who have renewed the internet's promise of self-publishing," sings Kevin Anderson, writer of the BBC's, er "Boston Blog" covering the event.

The DNC and said cyber-diarists have officially started a relationship, and each is evidently enjoying the attention the affair's generated. The Dem's have been throwing parties for the three dozen "official" bloggers, beginning with a breakfast on the morning of the 26th at which that techie Howard Dean assured: "If I were you, I wouldn't be insulted if someone said you weren't a real journalist."

Not that there seems to be much danger of that, the bloggers seem to be having as much fun thumbing their noses at the "mainstream media" for being so square as to write about them as they've been emoting into cyberspace about the Convention.

On one level, the blog form does seem to lend itself to coverage of an event like the DNC. "Traditional media"'s coverage presentation of the spectacular seems unlikely to give much of what its like to be at this four day, multi-ring circus. And the subversive, regular-guy-on-the-ground tone of many blogs does have some kind of appeal when compared to the coporate media coverage.

On the other hand, why are we so fascinated to read other people's "random thoughts" on their experience while we sit at home in our boxers? Bloggers are cyber-diarists, they depend on creating a certain cult of personality to draw readers. I suppose anyone can be a blogger - but if everyone were blogging their impressions moment-to-moment, who would be reading them. That we young Americans are so into getting our news by reading other peoples' diaries seems to prove our creepy penchant for voyerism, along with reality TV and online "buddy"-watching. Why do we get such a rise out blogs?

Any ideas? You can just post me a "Comment..."

Sick of luddite naysayers? Check out the In These Times' Election 2004 Blog..

Posted by editorial intern Alix Rule.

Tracy Van Slyke, a former publisher of In These Times, is the project director for The Media Consortium.

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