I’m posting my revised notes from last night’s Joining The Blogosphere event at San Jose State University, with a post for each member of the panel. My input is in italics.
Jude Barry is still a freshly minted blogger. He is one of four writers at San Jose Inside, which has set as its purpose the fleshing out of the San Jose Mercury News‘ coverage of city government and local culture.
Jude says that he can express more opinion with a sharper edge than the Merc. He sees San Jose Inside as a way to build a community, as Howard Dean’s Blog For America did during his run at the presidency.
Jude emphasizes the importance of readers talking to each other. Two-way communication between a blogger and their readers is nice, but getting the readers talking amongst themselves is better.
(As journalists, PR professionals, marketers, or teachers – how can we get our audience talking to each other? What’s the merit for society of building an online community?)
Jude on the role of blogs in politics: We want to be able to talk to each other, not filtered through the channels of consolidated media. Consolidated media is “dangerous for democracy.”
There’s already a hierarchy of credibility on the web, just like in other media.
(Think about this hierarchy in the mainstream media: do you trust the network nightly news more than your local newspaper? Do you trust your local newspaper more than a college radio station? Do you trust the college radio station more than what your neighbor says?)
Negative effects of blogs on politics: politicians are already scheming about how to drive election coverage using critical blogs. Jude gave the example of the Thune vs. Daschle senate campaign in South Dakota.
(look up the Jeff Gannon connection there if you like)
In the Howard Dean campaign, Jude thought the group blog helped give people a sense of “ownership” – participation was the key to getting people to commit time, energy, and money.
Of course, when things weren’t going well, the Dean blog became an easy place for journalists to get a negative comment about how the campaign was going.