Thursday, January 04, 2007

We Don't Need No Stinkin' Badges

Or do we? Damn the syndicate?

The revolution is, once again, masked as ye 'olde power-grab. Now the Media Bloggers Association (yes, I'm a member so who really wants to be in that club?) wants to clean-up us bloggers real nice like so that we can be credentialed for big news coverage events, in this case the pending Scooter Libby trial in Washington. From today's MBA emailed (by Robert Cox) missive:
Dear MBA Member,

I was not quite ready to announce this but as this news is probably going to be mentioned in a major newspaper tomorrow I figure I had better go ahead and fill you all in tonight. As you know, I've been working on creating new opportunities for bloggers including "access" for bloggers.

Those efforts are now bearing fruit as we have our first high-profile opportunity. The U.S. District Court in Washington, DC has agreed to provide the MBA with two seats at the upcoming Scooter Libby Trial.

Those members interested to participate need to send me an email expressing their interest and some preferred dates. Our plan is to put together a schedule of 15-20 bloggers. Each blogger will be given one of our two press credentials for a few days (we can play with exact dates once I have expressions of interest from members).

The blogger can either be you or someone who blogs on a group blog you run (technically members of your group blog are already members, something we are sorting out with the new membership database but that is a different matter). I am hoping to create some overlap in the schedule so there is always one "veteran" and one "rookie" in our two seats. Bloggers who participate are expected to crank out a good deal of material and participate in the syndication of the content through the MBA web site.

Maybe this is a good thing, but as Leonard Witt at PJNet asks, do we really want Robert Cox of MBA bestowing privileges we can likely access on our own, thank you very much?

Without benefit of MBA and while MSM slept, we have quietly been committing journalism (and been credentialed as "real" media too in the case of my company, WaySouth Media, Inc.) without need of anointment by the Washington media power structure, old or otherwise.

Lemme give you a quick link list of independent Atlanta bloggers who have stumbled into genuine journalism, should you need a refresher...

Drifting Through The Grift (exclusive Loveshack porn saga coverage)
Georgia Podcast Network (podcasts on new media you won't find elsewhere)
TrueGritz ( media "rights" to the Olympics)
Peachtree Screed (Mayor Franklin's racial tones)
Bernaisesource (overall excellent, original PR industry analysis)

Are there others? I'm sure there are. Send the Atlanta-based ones to me and I'll add to the list.

Is having an umbrella organization, a syndicate, act on our behalf and thus bestowing that group and its leader, Robert Cox, with the power of our compliance, at utter cross purposes with the very nature of independent blogging itself? I'd be all for getting a stinkin' badge, but under these rules?

Members also could seek credentialed status by undergoing training or demonstrating other work as professional journalists. They also must agree to the organization's ethical standards and adopt formal editorial and corrections policies.


griftdrift said...

Thanks Grayson.

I'm a bit torn on this. The fact is I think 99% of the "new media" is garbage. They are like monkeys flinging any amount of poo on the wall and seeing what sticks. There is zero editorial control and absolutely no filters. Most, and here I am including the radio trolls, couldn't find the word retraction if they had a dictionary with only the letter R.

On the other hand, the system is also self-correcting. There is a lot of info out there but as more and more outlets emerge there will be more and more scutiny amongst ourselves. If someone lays a constant stream of B.S. then someone is going to call them on it and eventually the B.S. artists reputation will suffer.

In the end, I think market forces will bear out. You will never weed out all the wackos, but the blogs and other venues that take some for of journalistic governors will eventually be the only ones taken seriously.

Amber said...


But I guess Robert Cox is cool, 'cause he used "WTF" in his communique.

Grayson said...

No, he's not even cool because that was my addition. And obviously I didn't make it obvious, so I will now remove it, least I get into bad legal territory.