Monday, March 26, 2007

Deval's Blogging Buddies

Without prolonged navel gazing, it appears as though some print folk having been ragging on the ragged bloggers again. I was set to ignore it, but Gov. Deval Patrick's savvy interplay with us electron slingers -- in his campaign and after -- is worthy of mention.

Unfortunately, there are a few examples of itty-boo, poor-me journalism out there. The lamest may be the piece by David Bernstein over at the Phoenix. That's the ironically blog-style item that riled up mild-mannered (recent Globe model-like source) David Kravitz from Blue Mass Group. and the far less compliant Lynne Lupien from Left In Lowell.

If you want to wallow in the amusing commentary, you can try David's take or Lynne's amplification. Oh, and Ryan Adams at Ryan's Take has some not too subtle words on the subject.

I agree with them. What they don't say too is that newspapers have largely failed to take advantage of blogs. Even pretty good news sites like boston.com stagger under the embarrassment of the parent paper's boring blogs.

That's not the point though. The important angle is that Deval does take advantage, does get it, does grok blogs. He was willing to spend a half hour or so with a gang of us after his town meeting for good reason. We are running words, images, video and MP3s. We asked several questions that paper and broadcast folk didn't and won't. We wanted something beyond what a press release or speech coverage would give us. Our coverage will go on for some time and reach people who skim or ignore MSM.

So, he got over a dozen of us and treated us with intelligence and respect. He only refused one question, when asked for an opinion on the U.S. Attorneys ousters, in relation to his high post in Bill Clinton's Justice Department.

For that, he'll get a lot of coverage from a variety of angles. The blogs have much, much smaller readerships than the local MSM, but our regulars and click-in readers seek us, and don't just access us by default. We have people who want more and different than they get in the Globe, the Phoenix or TV newscasts. Our audience likely expects some analysis and a bit more or different than the big kids.

Blogs are new and evolving. Very few politicians have a high enough tolerance for the ambiguity inherent in such evolutionary development. I'm betting Deval stays ahead of cycle. I'm betting he gives bloggers what they need, as he does MSM, and that with blogs he gets a high return for a modest effort.

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