Some random thoughts on the convention season:
I was at the gym on Saturday morning, watching CNN with the sound off (language pledge, you know) while sweating profusely on the elliptical machine. Closed captioning was on, so I managed to catch the following exchange regarding media coverage of the convention. The gist of the exchange: reporter - do you think that 3 hours is enough time for the major TV networks to spend on coverage of the convention? Is it enough time to help people pick a president? CBS network executive: Of course it is. We'll show the major newsworthy events, Kerry's speech and Edwards' speech. My big problem is that American politics are no longer participatory. Let's go back to smoke-filled rooms.
Arg! Arg! I almost threw myself off the elliptical when I saw that. For crying out loud, Edwards' speech and Kerry's speech will probably take about 2 out of the 3 hours that NBC, CBS and ABC are planning to devote to coverage. Granted, the conventions are a whole lot of pomp and circumstance and little content, but the fact of the matter, Mr. CBS Network Executive, is that we don't live in a participatory democracy, and the only way that the majority of the country is going to "participate" at all in this process is through the media coverage! And if that's the case, 3 hours doesn't come close to cutting it. Sure, the cable networks will offer more coverage, and will have web content to supplement the network broadcasts, but that won't help those without it. Jackass.
On another related topic, we've heard a whole lot about bloggers being granted press passes to the DNC. The Times is reporting today that the RNC will grant between 10-20 passes to bloggers as well. The same Times article lists the three criteria with which bloggers were chosen for the DNC: "readership, professionalism and originality". Among those who were accepted, a 16 year old from NJ and Jessamyn. I was wondering whether or not they'd granted all the blogger credentials to folks who blog for more conventional media outlets (no pun intended), but it seems as though that's not the case. I'm more hopeful that we'll get an unfiltered, on the ground, what matters to real people view from these folks. One way of keeping track of the convention blogger coverage is conventionbloggers.com, aggregated by Dave Winer. You can also find aggregated feeds at Feedster and Technorati. (via metafilter)
Speaking of blog research, these aggregated feeds would be a great place to do some data mining, to get an idea of what bloggers write about and how they do it. For example, how many of the posts on the conventionbloggers.com page are self-promotional? How many describe the convention scene? How many refer to other bloggers? etc.