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July 27, 2004

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Bloggers' Monday Coverage Reveals Their Diversity

A Media Nation round-up
Tuesday, July 27, 2004

BOSTON -- As the gavel fell on the first day of the Democratic National Convention, how do things look from Bloggers Row?

Uberblogger Jay Rosen, NYU journalism professor, in his July 25 entry of PressThink (www., offered his typical loquacious analysis of what blogging means to the convention.

Dave Johnson, meanwhile, who describes himself as "a fellow at a think tank" on Seeing The Forest (, was silent from Saturday until Monday afternoon. "I haven't been able to get online since I got here," he said at the Bloggers Breakfast Monday morning in a basement function room of Boston's Back Bay Hilton. "I bought a T-Mobile account, but I haven't been able to get it working," despite his best efforts at a couple of nearby Starbucks coffee shops.

Boston July 26, 2004-- Bloggers match the physical world with the cyber world over eggs at the DNC Blogger Breakfast Monday
Media Nation Photo by Sarah M. J. Welch

As these examples show, grouping all the credentialed bloggers at this convention into a homogenized lump just doesn't work. They are as diverse as any group of journalists. Their ages range from 16 to 59. Their attire varies from orange hoodies and dreadlocks to suits, ties and loafers. One commutes from cushy Brookline; another is staying with her sister in blue-collar Somerville -- both nearby Boston suburbs.

Here's a quick survey that reflects the diversity of coverage through Monday afternoon.

Jeralyn Merritt
An excited Merritt, 54, headlined her Sunday blog "BOSTON: NOTHING SHORT OF AMAZING." The cable-news legal analyst and author of a text on the Patriot Act complained about the $50 cab ride -- with tip -- from the airport. But when she arrived at her hotel, she was excited to report that "Bill and Hillary" were there, along with "a few big movie stars we won't mention out of respect for their privacy." She thanked her readers for their donations, which made her trip possible. Some of those readers, however, criticized her for not ditching the cab.

Jessamyn West
West, a 35-year-old small-town librarian from Vermont, wrote about her experience getting through the guarded zone around the convention hall on Monday. "It's been a crazy day . . . I just made my way through the terrible gauntlet that is Fleet Center security and into the nosebleed seats (Oh, did I say seats? We all get to stand, except for a few people who got here earlier than I did) with intermittent Internet access. Fortunately, as a librarian, I'm no stranger to tech-support problems." She also offered some practical advice: "There's no line for the ladies' room up on Level 7."

Christopher M. Rabb
Rabb, 34, is an indignant sarcastic blogger who describes his Web site as "an online community of civic-minded, intellectually-curious, and (to a greater or lesser extent) computer-literate Negroes." In his July 26 entry, Rabb talks about meeting "a new friend and colleague," Walter Fields, of North Star Network, an Internet news site for the black community. Both are angered by the under-representation of black newspapers at the convention.

Ezra Klein
Klein, 20, a UCLA junior, decoded the message-laden DNC Monday morning Bloggers Breakfast for his readers. He cited the ironic choice of speaker and AP blogger, Walter Mears (Klein spelled it Mirs), demonstrating the schism between convention -newbie bloggers and traditional media cashing in on blogger hype. "He's a legendary reporter . . . only thing was, you see, he had no idea what a blog was. He didn't know how to get to his. He's never read any of ours."

Carl Brooks, Kristen DeOliveira, Charles J. Doherty and Bree Herne contributed to this story.





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