[L]ast night CNN hosted a blogging party at Tryst, a cafe on 18th Street in Washington, D.C. The network was careful to invite bloggers from across the political spectrum...Could it have been good television? I think there was a different path that could have been taken, but that is probably not what CNN would dare to do. The party atmosphere was beautifully staged, but to the extent that we were there to be blogging, it falls flat. We're just typing. Plus, the party is wildly distracting. How are you supposed to write or even perceive things that you can write about? I think we should have been miked and monitored, not interviewed and not seriously expected to write anything on the spot. Collect us in a room as bloggers, but then show us in something more like a reality show style. There actually were a lot of great conversations going on, and I think would have been cool and different to eavesdrop on us.
Having crammed their blogger petri dish with crabby pundits of every stripe, CNN producers throughout the night broke away from their otherwise excellent election coverage to wade into the blogging abyss at Tryst. There, surrounded by the dim glow of laptops, bloggers offered CNN cameras loads of dubious wisdom. Occasionally, the cameras would pan across the room, capturing the magic of bloggers in action -- essentially, people typing.
All of which proved, once again, that the act of writing a scorching blog post looks no different on camera than the act of writing the world's most mind-numbing inter-office memo. And neither makes for good television -- a fact that at least one blogger who attended the Tryst party owned up to this morning.
"Waking up this morning in my quiet hotel room, I realize how insanely hard it was to try to watch the election returns at that blogger party at Tryst," writes Ann Althouse. "The notion that we were in some way bringing you the news is utterly absurd."
Not to mention, utterly un-watchable.
November 8, 2006
The Columbia Journalism Review blog talks about the CNN blogger party (and quotes me):