Interview with William Beutler (BLOGOMETER, BLOGPI)

Early this summer Shearon Roberts, one of my Masters Students, working for the Wall Street Journal conducted a series of interviews with interesting and innovative political bloggers. Among her first talks was with William Beutler, then a Senior Writer with the blogometer column in The Hotline (of the National Journal). He now (August 2006) produces BlogPI as a blog analyst for New Media Strategies, a PR firm based in Alexandria, Virginia.

Beutler: At The Hotline, I write…the blogometer. That section of the main publication is also published on the Web right after The Hotline…as a Web column basically. And that Web column, the blogometer, I spend 6 hours a day reading probably 150 blogs. And I screen them trying to find the interesting conversations and the things people are saying that are affecting politics and things that are affecting bills that are on the hill.

It’s a powerful tool. If you could read 100 blogs a day and you’re interested in politics and you don’t have time to visit other websites, read the blogometer and you will know what is happening in politics today basically. [Read more…]

Interview with polblogger Tony Trupiano (Democratic candidate for Congress)

Shearon Roberts, an LSU Masters Student working for the Wall Street Journal, conducted a series of interviews with interesting and innovative political bloggers as a project for a class I taught. She talked to Tony Trupiano (Democratic candidate for Congress in Michigan’s 11th district) who blogs at:

How involved are you in operating the blog, making posts and reading comments?

The blog is one of the few things that I am 98% present in. I do my own blogging, I do read the blog. I think it’s a great communication too. I think it is an opportunity…you give people access…not so much to the candidate but to the process. I find blogging to be almost therapeutic at times. And it’s a great communications tool.

How frequently is the blog updated?

At least once a week. I mean if I had time, I’d love to do it everyday. And I’ve kind of kind of fought this idea that somebody else can blog for me. For me that takes away from authenticity. So once a week, twice a week, sometimes more but I try to blog about something at least once a week.

How is the blog designed, is it a true blog–a strict daily diary or a mix of website features and posts? What is the writing style or tone of the blog?

Depending on the topic really depends on the tone (of writing). Not too long ago we had a major automotive plant close in my area and so that was much more personal. If I’m blogging about policy, obviously that’s going to be a bit more academic. So it’s the whole spectrum, it’s not just one style. [Read more…]

Can the Clintons Harness the Blogs? (USA Today)

I wrote this essay for USA Today in response to a meeting between leftbloggers and former President Bill Clinton at his Harlem headquarters. Along with my forthcoming book, BLOGWARS, it argues that blogging has “arrived” in politics today. Politicians and political professionals (as well as journalists and media workers) are “blogging up,” and trying to figure out how to use blogs in their business.

Note: One of the big differences between your own blog and writing for the mainstream press is that you get edited by the latter–something I always accept (along with a check!). So, for example, I wrote the piece just after the blog lunch, but it was not printed until now because the paper wanted to put it closer to the election, which made sense. In any case, the original is below. A few lines that were cut–mostly for reasons of length–are now restored.

How will the Clintons harness the political force of the blog?

By David D. Perlmutter

USA Today, Monday October 2, 2006

A few weeks ago, Bill Clinton went to the blogs. Now the political world may never be the same.

While blogging has caught on all over the country for would-be aldermen and sitting governors, presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton still does not blog—or at least not much. However, her husband’s two-hour lunch at his Harlem headquarters with a number of prominent leftbloggers such as Atrios, Matt Stoller from MyDD, Daily Kos’ McJoan and John Aravosis from Americablog may signal an innovative commitment to blogging for the office of commander-in-chief. [Read more…]

Perils of Interactivity, Cont. (Obama MySpace)

I just finished my final draft of Blogwars: The New Political Battleground (Oxford University Press). As I have said, writing a book on blogs is like reporting NASCAR with stone tablets–so much happens so fast. One topic of current interest is the nature of interactivity: what are its benefits and drawbacks for politicians?

Of course, in the bloglands, you can’t pack the rooms with your supporters, shut out hecklers, and enforce message discipline. For example, candidate Barack Obama pioneered the use of MySpace as a campaign tool, but look at what happens when you open up the gates of interactivity to anyone, from kooks to your sworn enemies to supporters who embarrass you by their support. Among the July 2007 commenters on the Obama MySpace site, one “Namaste” from the hip-hop music producers at StreetLabStudio signed on to say, “Fallin’ thru ta show ya some luv and say wassup!! Have an Excellent, Blessed Day!! ‘lid…..never follow.” Fair enough, but does the accompanying video graphic of a nude woman jiggling her buttocks help or hurt the Senator from Illinois in his march to the White House? Then there’s the scary LostInQueens who signed on to assure the candidate, “you can count on my vote.” His graphic is a masked man pointing a gun at the viewer.

And MySpace sells ads: In one ad on Obama’s page, the conservative magazine Human Events offers readers a free report on “the real Barack Obama,” detailing issues from “his radical stance on abortion to his prominence in the corruption scandals that has been virtually ignored by the mainstream media” and asserts that “Barack Obama is not fit to be Senator — not to mention the next President of the United States.”

Do politicians need such interactvity?

–David D. Perlmutter

Originally posted August 2, 2007 at PolicyByBlog

Political Blogs: An Agenda for Research (AEJMC 2008)

I gave a presentation while at the Association for Education in Journalism & Mass Communication Conference, Chicago , IL , August 5-09, 2008.

David D. Perlmutter. “Political Blogs: An Agenda for Research.” Presentation for a panel on “Blogging Politics: Press, Policy, and the Public.” [Also serve as discussant.] Association for Education in Journalism & Mass Communication Conference, Chicago, IL, August 5, 2008.

Originally posted August 18, 2008 at PolicyByBlog

State of Visual Communications Research (AEJMC 2008)

Another presentation that touched on political blogs:

David D. Perlmutter. “The State of Visual Communications Research.” Presentation to a luncheon of the Visual Communication Division of the Association for Education in Journalism & Mass Communication at the Chicago Tribune, Chicago, Ill., August 8, 2008.

Originally posted August 18, 2008 at PolicyByBlog

A Slow (or Bright) Blog Manifesto

It ought also to be said that he was immensely painstaking. [When he made] Broad and powerful statements…they were no mere assertions, but the product of countless hours of research into the minutiae of the subject. Even by the usual scrupulous standards of comparative philology, Tolkien was extraordinary in this respect. His concern for accuracy cannot be overemphasized, and it was doubly valuable because it was coupled with a flair for detecting patterns and relations. ‘Detecting’ is a good word, for it is not too great a flight of fancy to picture him as a linguistic Sherlock Holmes, presenting himself with an apparently disconnected series of facts and deducing from them the truth about some major matter. He also demonstrated his ability to ‘detect’ on a simpler level, for when discussing a word or phrase with a pupil he would cite a wide range of comparable forms and expressions in other languages.*

I have been thinking lately about these words written by a biographer of J.R.R. Tolkien, the master-builder of the Lord of the Rings universe and great scholar of language. For the past several months, I have been traveling, giving speeches about blogging and other online social-interactive media (OSIM) and Campaign 2008. Either in person or in tele-video or Webchat connections, I have spoken to groups in Germany, the Netherlands, the Philippines, and Afghanistan. In the United States, my audiences have varied widely, from high school teachers to the New England Journal of Medicine.


All ask the question: Where can we go to get trustworthy information?

In some ways, the great communications conceptual issue of the 20th century was that of access: Up through the early 1990s, to speak to large audiences, to have any real voice in public life, you either made do with an audience of your peers in a Norman Rockwell-like town hall meeting or you had to be a discourse elite. These latter were journalists, politicians, government staffers, celebrities and influential rich folk who made up the Golden Rolodex of who appeared and spoke on the narrow range of news, information, and political outlets then available. Now, hundreds of millions of people have potential access to a global audience through OSIM from blogs to MySpace, YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, and Flickr and many, many other venues. Not only can we create content—that is, be both a sender and receiver of information (what I call an “interactor”)—but also we can affect the popularity of other content through interfaces ranging from blogrolls to our google search histories to thepreference engines of DIGG and others. [Read more…]

Perlmutter Dept. of State Talks: Manila & Kabul

Some other blogging and elections talks:

–David D. Perlmutter. International webtalk on “The American Elections and Online Social-Interactive Media” sponsored by the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan, November 3, 2008.

Read: The transcript of the webchat.

–David D. Perlmutter. Keynote Speaker. “The American elections.” Tele-Video Conference sponsored by by the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Embassy in Manila, Philippines, October 21, 2008.

Originally posted November 18, 2008 at PolicyByBlog

Perlmutter on “The Blogging of the President”

David D. Perlmutter was not able to attend but his co-author (Monica Postelnicu, LSU) gave their presentation on “The Blogging of the President: How Online Social-Interactive Media Helped Obama Win” at the Broadcast Education Association 2009 meeting in Las Vegas.

Originally posted May 5, 2009 at PolicyByBlog