Carnival Of Blog Coverage

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Carnival #5: Kingston Of The Blogosphere

Rep. Jack Kingston is among the most astute lawmakers when it comes to recognizing the opportunity that blogs and other technologies present for elected officials.

The Georgia Republican started a blog of his own last year; he also started posting entries at RedState at about the same time; and he is one of the few members of Congress to try "podcasting." Kingston unsuccessfully lobbied bloggers on behalf of Roy Blunt, R-Mo., in the race to become House majority leader earlier this year. And in March, his staff hosted a blog workshop for House Republican press secretaries. (Full disclosure: I was one of the speakers at that event.)

Kingston continued his efforts this week by holding a conference call with a handful of conservative bloggers. The subjects ranged from Iraq and Iran to immigration reform and energy independence. (You can get full reports at Capitol Report, Captain's Quarters, HughHewitt.com, Right Wing News, The Right Angle and Wizbang.)

Kingston's presence in the blogosphere and his passion for technology have generated plenty of positive press for him. He was one of my sources in my article about "The Rise of Blogs" for National Journal magazine in January, for instance, and as noted here in the last carnival, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution in Kingston's home state profiled him in March. (Another disclosure: I was interviewed for that story.)

Kingston's latest blog call prompted yet another piece, this time in The Washington Times.

He isn't the only lawmaker getting attention for outreach to the blogosphere, though. Also this week, The Hill covered efforts by House Democrats, particularly Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.

Capitol Report, GOP Bloggers and even the blog of the Republican National Committee highlighted the less-flattering aspects of the article. The liberal Americablog, by contrast, played up this quote from the story: "The liberal blogosphere is better developed than its conservative counterpart." And Matt Stoller of MyDD added that "it's good to see more recognition of the progressive blogosphere."

It's always amusing to see how the same story can spark such conflicting reactions.

That's just the start of the coverage about government and politics in the blogosphere over the past several days. Here's more for your reading pleasure:

Government and politics
-- From the Salt Lake Tribune in Utah: "More and more politicians are bypassing the mainstream news media and turning to blogs, or Web logs, to post information and interact with constituents. Blogging even made it as a topic at this week's meeting of the National Conference of State Legislatures in Washington."

-- The Federal Election Commission ruling that exempted blogs from campaign finance rules sparked coverage for days afterward. The most recent pieces appeared in The Financial Times and The Washington Post. The Tennessean of Nashville also penned an editorial praising the FEC for its vote. And at Beltway Blogroll this week, I examined what the rules might mean for the future of Internet politics.

The regulatory reality is not nearly so friendly toward would-be political bloggers in Singapore.

-- How did a Wisconsin blogger topple a county Democratic chairman? The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has the answer: "He used unnamed sources. He posted lewd photos. He let his opinion be known about what he believed was the unethical and unprincipled behavior. ... He used tools that most mainstream media steer away from, but that bloggers are now using with gusto."

The Sheboygan Press also penned a general feature on the blogging phenomenon.

-- All poli-blogging is local -- well, some of it anyway. Bloggers in Mesa, Ariz., are sharing their thoughts on who the next police chief should be. Local blogs are hitting their stride in northern Virginia. And gubernatorial candidates in Massachusetts have taken note of the power of the blogosphere.

-- The Phoenix takes a closer look at the assertions of bloggers and the realities of the immigration debate after protests across the nation this week.

-- The Defense Department is keeping watch over the blogosphere.

-- Apple Computer's fight against bloggers who play journalistic roles without journalistic credentials goes back to court this month. And if bloggers in Ireland aren't careful, they could find themselves in court for libel charges.

-- New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, a Democratic candidate for governor in the Empire State, caused a stir in the blogosphere when he said the economy in upstate New York "looks like Appalachia." Being from Appalachia -- I'm a proud redneck in a white collar from West Virginia -- I find the slam a little irksome, though I can't really argue with reality that the Appalachian economy is perpetually troubled.

Media
-- Two conservative writers criticized some of their own colleagues for rushing to believe the worst about freelance journalist Jill Carroll while she was held captive in the Middle East.

Jeff Jacoby told bloggers they need to learn to "Hold That Opinion" sometimes. And in a piece at the CBS News blog Public Eye, Jim Geraghty, a blogger himself at National Review Online, lamented that "a significant portion of the blogosphere has ... gone sour."

Liberal writer Ellen Goodman said bloggers should apologize to Carroll. And the Lincoln Journal Star in Nebraska blasted bloggers for attacking her, concluding: "This is as good a place as any for the blogosphere to start paying its dues and examining, or developing, its conscience."

Allah Pundit also posted a roundup of reactions at MichelleMalkin.com.

-- Washingtonpost.com had a bad experience after hiring a conservative blogger. But rather than shun the blogosphere because of that experience, now the publication is looking for both conservative and liberal bloggers.

-- Byron Calame, the public editor at The New York Times, examined his paper's moves into the blogosphere. It's moves are pretty lame, actually, and so is Calame's column -- just what you'd expect from a green-eyeshade newsman of a bygone era.

The Times also created a new "Ask The Editors" feature, and blogger Michelle Malkin encouraged her readers to have some fun with it.

-- The merging of old and new media is continuing, and bloggers are set to benefit from the three latest cases of convergence: The LexisNexis database firm struck a deal with Newstex to deliver blog content; Reuters inked a deal with the international blog network Global Voices Online; and the new BlogBurst syndication service already has some major newspaper clients for the expert blog commentary it hopes to offer.

The convergence, noted by Tech News World and Wired News, is even evident at the local level. This week's proof: The Beaumont Enterprise invited young people to join a new group blog for Southeast Texas.

-- Public television host David Brancaccio is a fan of blogs. Here are excerpts from an interview with the Seattle Post-Intelligencer:

"The idea of citizen voices expressing themselves through blogs is fabulous. There's people reading them and there's people with cool opinions. I read blogs quite a bit because they are other smart people with more time on their hands than me, [and they] have aggregated stories that I need to see. ... When we screw up, the bloggers are right there to hold our feet to the fire. But there has to be a basis of actual fact, fact does matter. It's not all just spin. But if blogs are built upon a foundation of facts that journalism can provide, then that's a great synergy."

-- CBS News hired Katie Couric as the first solo female anchor for an American evening news program. That sounds like a big development, but some bloggers apparently could care less. Others have shown more interest.

-- The San Francisco Chronicle profiled Markos Moulitsas Zuniga of Daily Kos and included a podcast of the interview with the story.

International
-- The government of Singapore is being condemned for gagging bloggers and other online activists in the run-up to the Asian nation's election. Computerworld wonders whether the censorship will work.

-- Bloggers are doing their part to spread a conspiracy theory about Iran's plan to topple the United States.

-- Video blogs could be threatened by pending television legislation in the European Union.

-- A pro-democratic blogger from Nepal was scheduled to speak at the University of California at Los Angeles about his country's oppression of democratic activists.

-- Blogs are gaining popularity among legislators in Finland. Plus a look at blogging in South Africa.

-- Shanghai Daily reported on the popularity of a new blogging service for Chinese children.

Culture
-- Will Richardson of New Jersey earned recognition as a pioneer educational blogger. So did Alexander Halavais of State University of New York.

Kansas University students blogged about their studies abroad in Italy. And blogs by teachers have led to the equivalent of a virtual teachers' lounge where everyone has access.

-- The first Blooker Prize for a book based on a blog went to an amateur chef. The book chronicled her attempt to cook the recipes of Julia Childs.

The blog-to-book transition is working out well for more writers, like the author of "Bitter is the New Black" and 26-year-old Jason Mulgrew, who has both book and television deals, and has been named among the most eligible bachelors.

-- Some bloggers/wannabe sailors have made cussing part of their shtick. It's little wonder, then, that when The Daily News in Longview, Wash., asked on its blog whether there is too much foul language these days, bloggers had plenty to say on the topic.

-- The Guardian published a piece on feminist blogs, and AlterNet reacted.

-- Some lawyers see blogs as a tool to help them get clients.

-- One of the benefits of blogging: freebies. One of the risks of blogging: spam. Plus the latest word on blog/podcast/RSS advertising -- and the news is good.

-- The movie "Snakes On A Plane" is the subject of plenty of commentary in the blogosphere. One movie expert thinks Hollywood should be using blogs and podcasts, too. Some celebrities already are.

-- Blogging can be a productivity killer, but apparently there is a niche for productivity blogs that aim to "offer a way out of a life of perpetually unfinished to-do lists." Other niches: classical blogs, the Masters golf tournament, neckties, beef jerky and more.

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