Saturday, August 30, 2008

Bloggers Get the Full Treatment at the DNC

It's never been a better time to start a blog. No matter what field you're in, blogs are increasingly opening doors for publishers and getting us R-E-S-P-E-C-T, as Aretha would say. My friend and fellow blogger, Sharon Toomer, attended the Democratic National Convention along with two of her writers in an all-expense paid trip, truly a dream come true for her, all because of her blog,, (BBN for short). Sharon launched BBN about two years ago as a user-driven news, information and community forum to cover stories from the Black and Latino perspective.

Naturally, covering the DNC was a plum assignment for Sharon, who's day job is at the Association of Black Foundation Executives. But with limited funds, she boldly decided to ask her employer to sponsor her trip to both the Democratic and Republican conventions, and they said yes. This wouldn't have happened, say, a couple of years ago. How times have changed! (That's her getting some face time with Rep. John Lewis at the convention)

But there's more. She hooked up with the NY Community Media Alliance, who launched an election 2008 initiative and is financing a group of ethnic and immigrant media organizations so they can attend both conventions, as well the primary season and the general election. The NYCMA has also arranged for new media journalists and bloggers to get the all-important press credentials for high profile events, including "Big Tent Denver". There are 11 journalists along with Sharon, representing Pakistan, China, Bangladesh, Ireland, Poland, Russia and of course Black, African American and Latino communities. "None of us has the resources, human or financial, to staff this kind of coverage," says Sharon.

Bloggers and new media journalists had a huge area where they could blog all day, with free lunch and dinner, sponsored by Daily Koz, Google and YouTube. "They're taking bloggers seriously and created a space for us to be able to work," adds Sharon.

Her first interview was with Al Sharpton at La Guardia when they were both boarding the plane from NY to Denver. She saw him waiting to be seated and asked if she could have a few minutes of his time. He was very generous and kind to her. "It was cool", she says. "This is very valuable for nontraditional news and information outlets like BBN that don't have access to the democratic process in the same way that mainstream media does yet we still need to get information to our readers."

Next stop for Sharon: Minnesota. After that? The world!


Mo Krochmal said...

Great article and an interesting look at bloggers. Thanks for writing it.

Romana Mirza said...

Thanks for sharing Carmina, this is really inspiring!

Holly said...

Hmmm...this gives me some ideas and things to shoot for down the road. Thanks for the inspiration!