Monday, October 29, 2007

US: Bush met bloggers for press conference

Instead of speaking to traditional White House reporters, American President George Bush held a round-table interview with 10 bloggers who specialize in military issues. As bloggers increase their credentials, these press conferences will also give rise to ethical concerns.

Two of the 10 bloggers participated from Baghdad through a video link.

"More and more we are engaging in the new-media world, and these are influential people who have a big following," said Kevin F. Sullivan, the White House communications chief.

According to the Post, there wasn’t much news that resulted from the conference, but this first-of-its-kind experiment gave the White House the opportunity to try new communication channels.

“The hour-long meeting in the Roosevelt Room offered Bush another opportunity to break through what he sees as the filter of the traditional news media, while also reaching out to the providers of a new source of information,” reported the Post.

The blogs represented at the meeting were generally pro-Bush and pro-military (and were selected by the White House), and this was visible in the reports that ensued. So this press conference also raises questions as to the validity or credibility of media coverage, if such proceedings become the norm.

Second effect of inviting bloggers: the reports were more emotionally-driven and portrayed Bush under a more humane light, which wouldn’t be apparent in a newspaper article.

Thirdly, blog readers may be more sensitive to blog articles written by an author they can identify with than with the seemingly objective voice of a journalist. So although blogs are generally less trusted than newspapers, a reader’s opinion might be more easily swayed by a blog account.

If the White House deems these effects are suitable for its public image, it wouldn’t be surprising to see more press conferences held with bloggers, rather than newspaper journalists.

Source: Washington Post through I Want Media

No comments: