Green Mountain Daily headed to Democratic convention

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(Host) Internet blogs have become nearly indispensable to American politics, as they dish up news and rumors even while events unfold.

And, as VPR’s Ross Sneyd reports, they’ve become so integral to politics that bloggers will be given unprecedented access to the Democratic National Convention.

(Sneyd) Many convention organizers designate a particular company or product as an official sponsor or supporter.

So, you get the official airline of the convention, or the official beer. Here’s a new one for the Democrats’ convention in Denver this summer: official blog. Well, make that blogs – 55 of them.

One blog has been chosen from each state and each territory as an official blog of the convention.

The blogs will be interactive and accessible. Writers for the official blogs will get floor passes so they can go to the heart of the convention, sit among the delegates, and post whenever they hear or see something interesting.

So, John Odum will be headed to Denver in August for Vermont.

(Odum) “In a sense, each of us who are individual members of the State Blogging Corps – and is the Vermont member – will be there on the floor acting as the eyes and ears for the folks back home.”

(Sneyd) Odum says people reading a blog like his Green Mountain Daily likely will see something very different from what they’ll get in newspapers, on TV or radio.

(Odum) “We’re there not as objective observers and scribes. These are blogs that were chosen that clearly are engaged with liberal, progressive politics and generally engage with the Democratic Party specifically.”

(Sneyd) Still, the bloggers won’t be there just as cheerleaders, either. They can be pretty critical of their friends, as Odum explains.

(Odum) “If there’s one thing we all have in common, we have absolutely no qualms about criticizing our own side when we feel they deserve it, or, frankly, the need it.”

(Sneyd) Despite the good chance that they might get skewered, the Democrats see the blogs as an important grassroots organizing tool.

Damon Jones is one of the coordinators of the media operation in Denver.

(Jones) “without a doubt this is a way not only for us to get our messages out to audiences across the country, but it’s a way for people to get perspective from many citizen journalists who haven’t had the chance to report from this unique vantage point before.”

(Sneyd) It’s an opportunity many traditional reporters don’t get anymore. Sue Allen is editor of the Times Argus in the Barre-Montpelier area. The Times Argus and its sister paper, the Rutland Herald, cover Vermont politics closely. But Allen says they won’t have a reporter in Denver.

(Allen) “In the perfect world, I think every single newspaper in the country would love to send reporters to cover their delegations. It’s just not financially feasible.”

(Sneyd) So the Times Argus and the Herald will contact members of the Vermont delegation by phone for stories. And, Allen says, their reporters will follow developments on the blogs.

For VPR New, I’m Ross Sneyd.

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