Thursday, December 18th, 2008 at 10:16 am in Night Owl.
The official vehicle of the blogosphere would be a Segway scooter, I decided last night erstwhile when Nancy Nadel challenger Sean Sullivan rolled up to the Washington Inn last night. The downtown business darling showed up at the Oakland Blogger Get-Together. The blogoyalty were there — such as the event’s organizer “Becks” of Living in the O, Future Oakland/The DTO’s Jonathan Bair and “V Smoothe” of A Better Oakland. So were Oakland’s citerati: Oakland Events, Dowtown Lake Merritt Neighborhood Group, Tina “Tamale” Ramos (The big cheese over at La Borinquena Mex-icatessen who’s living in a tamale world cuz she’s a tamale girl). Lots of readers and numerous genuinely engaged residents who had lots to say about people trashing their town, the popping entertainment scene and transit. It was the first blogger party I’ve ever been to or heard of. I was half expecting to find a bunch of freaks and geeks to be tapping away at their laptops. Just kidding. No way Oakland’s urban bloggerati would be doing anything but looking fabulous drinking their cocktails. Anyway, I appreciated being there but felt a little strange as the only reporter. The next year is going to be a watershed time in how journalism and blogging evolve. I mean, I was a baby reporter covering the 2004 elections from DC when bloggers made their big appearance as either critics of “mainstream media” (oh boy) or mortar that filled some of the cracks in the media house that has been crumbling for years. Now critics are analyzing blogs in the same way bloggers did journalists and there’s a project underway to put pens in the hands of writers who want to cover issues journalistically but have no reporting training or experience (aka “citizen journalism” which is a catchword likely to set the eyes rolling among most reporters.) I try to ignore the snark on both sides and listen to the merit of the ideas and whether in fact, as often is claimed, “no one” has written about the proposed story or whether the person just didn’t read it or wanted a different angle. You never know these days esp with the way managers are running news organizations into the ground. Don’t believe a word of the old BS — profits are plummeting so we’re laying more reporters off (way to go: compromise quality so people will read less), or the Internet and blogs are killing traditional media. The industry is plagued by little-minded people with money on their mind who didn’t have the creativity or will to react years ago to the changing scene. And papers are still wildly profitable compared to other industries. Yes, this is a sore topic for me and I’m not sure how I digressed so far. I do know that there’s plenty of room for everyone to serve the public by reporting (not just expressing opinions) about this city, the good, the bad and the ugly. In the immortal words of RK: Can’t we all just get along? Or at least have a drink together?