About Me

  • I've spent more than 25 years at the intersection of traditional and digital journalism. I've helped to invent ways to read and interact with the news and advertising on computer screens and iPads, and before that, I wrote news stories on typewriters and six-ply paper. I co-founded WashingtonPost.com and hyperlocal pioneers Backfence.com and GrowthSpur; served as editor of Philly.com; taught media entrepreneurship at the University of Maryland; and have done product-development and strategy consulting for all sorts of media and Internet companies and startups. You can read more about me here.

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« Adding Up The Newspaper Cutbacks | Main | The AP–Of All Places–As News Industry Think-Tank »

August 12, 2008



How about the fact that these reporters are covering a political stunt, a ruse, a work of theater that's filled with spin? I'd like to see more resources devoted to cutting through the BS rather than typing up the BS.

John Robinson

Well, we HAVE to go because we have a local candidate who may be a Cabinet member -- John Edw...Oh, wait. Never mind.

Jeff Potter

Interesting observations, Mark, as always. Another tangent: my community paper has a columnist who wanted to go on his own dime. He was issued press credentials that were rescinded because we weren't enough of a newspaper for them and space was an issue. This could have been an opportunity for us to put a local spin on a national issue just by virtue of a local voice on the editorial page. So not only is overkill on the part of the dailies hurting their own papers, they're keeping truly local voices from participating in the democratic (with or without a cap D) process.

Carl Doerner

I'm the journalist/poitical commentator Jeff mentions above - with Denver credentials first accepted, then lifted by the DNC. I was credentialed in '04 and for other conventions. I write regulkarly for two local dailies and am an indepent TV producer. Among the reasons for rejection may be the fact that my political publication focuses a lot on such "local color" as the marginalization of those who point out, as Kucinich has, that king has no clothes, the manner in which protesters are penned and abused, on finding where denver's homeless have been hidden. I've written and filmed most critically about the failures and complicity of the Democratic leadership. They don't like that. I'd be a hit with the Republicans, but I wouldn't want to spend four days in Minneapolis with that lot. As for this blogs reference to partying, elbow rubbing, backscratching, and such at conventions, I can vouch that that is a very big part of what goes on.

Harrison Chastang

There are some folks, who for various reason passed on covering the '68 Democratic Convention in Chicago and White House reporters who passed on what seemed to be an insiginificant Florida trip on Sept 10, 2001. Sure nothing unexpected may occur in Denver or St. Paul, but if something major does occur, the editor who made the decision to pull the plug on coverage will catch hell. For local journalists, particularly reporters who live far away from DC and who work for small media outlets, the conventions give local reporters an opportunity to get up close and personal with members of Congress, staffers and other DC and state political players who seldom make it to Denver, Phoenix, Reno and other places in the far west and Pacific Coast

Michele McLellan

Mark: Thanks for the post. I share your sentiments and explore what some of the local and regional newspapers are doing for convention -- sending one or two people, or none... @ http://tinyurl.com/5gbwas

Washington Whispers

Mark, long time...it's really a story about the growth of blogs who themselves will be stories us in the MSM will be covering. They just need stuff to write about, me included, and for two weeks there is an endless supply of stories. I go cuz of the sideshows and all the off-campus events where news is made and digested. Most of us won't cover floor action, though I'll admit to having a soft spot for the old guy or woman in the crazy hat and buttons. pb

spend it while you can

My paper is sending more people than ever, which is hard to do given that fewer people than ever work at the paper.
I'm stunned we're going. That week is back to school week. If we spent the resources and effort on the challenges facing our local schools our readers would be far better served.
But you can only bang your head against the wall so many times. If the people running the paper keep saying, "we have to send you" I can only try not to go so many times.

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