Who Watches The Watchers?

The LA Times’ Alex Jones sniffs disapprovingly at bloggers in what Stephen Green accurately describes as a hit piece yesterday, tut-tutting that simply because bloggers have credentials for the conventions, that doesn’t make them real live Journalists-with-a-capital-J.
Jones’ is right to be worried, but not for the reasons he expresses in his column. The convention coverage provided by bloggers will be significant and interesting not because it will reveal anything all that exciting about our political process. It will be interesting because it will reveal a great deal about our media process.
For the first time, we will have a large group of Pro-Fessional Journ-O-Lists and bloggers working the same event in close proximity. Sure, the blogger’s initial focus will be on the pols and their staged rituals and behind-the-scenes antics. But I predict that much of the most compelling coverage from our colleagues journeying to New York and Boston will come when they turn their attention to the parallel shadow dance that our press corps performs alongside the public, visible routines of the political operators. Want to know how that news sausage is made? You are about to find out.
They may not know it yet, but the bloggers aren’t there to cover the convention. They are there to cover the journalists. So my advice to Mr. Jones, and any other pro journalist out there venturing to the conventions: I suggest you put on your best suit. You are being watched.

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