Advocacy Ads’ Newest Outlet

Originally published at NationalJournal.com
By K. Daniel Glover

Advocacy is a staple of the blogosphere, and advocacy advertising on blogs is quickly becoming a popular tool for groups hoping to mobilize the online masses. That is exactly why readers of some popular blogs, most of them progressive or left-leaning, saw two ads on the Supreme Court vacancy almost as soon as Justice Sandra Day O’Connor announced her pending departure.

The National Abortion Rights Action League was behind one ad. It urged readers to “stand for freedom” and warned, “Don’t let Bush’s choice end yours.”

Readers who clicked on the ad were redirected to a site where they could endorse a form letter or edit it to their liking before sending it to their senators. The canned text read: “We deserve to know where the nominees to the Supreme Court stand on such core mainstream values as privacy, personal freedom, and a woman’s right to choose…. Please ask tough questions during the confirmation process.”

The second ad was the work of Unite Our States, a political action committee launched by Sen. Joseph Biden, D-Del., as he explores a run for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2008.

The ad pushed the idea of “a Supreme Court for all Americans” and sent readers to a site where they could sign a petition to President Bush. “Tell the president to pick a unanimous choice,” the ad said, and the petition notes the 99-0 vote in 1981 to confirm O’Connor.

Unite Our States ran its ad on about a half-dozen sites, including Dem Bloggers and Taegan Goddard’s Political Wire, for about a week. The NARAL ad was online for about 10 days, according to communications director David Seldin.

“We have used them before and found them to be a very efficient way to reach an audience” that cares about NARAL issues, Seldin said.
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Journalists vs. Bloggers

Originally published at Beltway Blogroll
By K. Daniel Glover

Ever since bloggers took their rightful spot in the limelight of the Information Age, media folk have vigorously debated whether bloggers are journalists.

Jay Rosen of PressThink proclaimed that debate “over” in a January essay he submitted for the Blogging, Journalism and Credibility conference at Harvard University, but I decided to add my voice to the debate today anyway. The venue: a Heritage Foundation roundtable that focused on the relationship between journalists and bloggers.

Mark Tapscott of Heritage’s Center for Media and Public Policy hosted the event and already has begun blogging about it at Tapscott’s Copy Desk. The other panelists were Ed Morrissey of the Captain’s Quarters blog and Jim Hill, managing editor of The Washington Post Writers Group.

Here is the proverbial nut graph of my speech: “Instead of being part of the Fourth Estate, [bloggers] are part of something new. I call it Estate 4.5 — a nod both to the profession whose excesses galvanized many bloggers and to the medium they use. Bloggers are like inspectors general, the independent watchdogs of government. Just as IGs are not part of the agencies they oversee, bloggers are neither part of government nor journalism, but they keep a wary and watchful eye on both. And in so doing they provide a valuable check against the arrogance, inadequacies and abuses of all four estates.”

The full text of the speech:

We’re here today to answer the question, “Are bloggers and journalists friends or enemies?” And the best way to answer that is by listening to what the two camps say about each other.

Because I’m a journalist, I’ll start with the blogger bashing that unfortunately is all too common among my colleagues. I keep a running list of journalistic rants against bloggers, and it is a nasty list.

Journalists have called bloggers:
— “Jumped-up dunces with PCs”
— “Barroom loudmouths”
— “Salivating morons”
— And “the headless mob”
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