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If you let in bloggers, you have to let the kids in too. Scholastic, the all-purpose education site for kids and teachers, sent several children to cover the convention, and as usual, they occasionally put their elders to shame. What works best on the Scholastic Web site, however, is a series of frequently asked questions about the convention and about blogging that can give adults a clearer picture of what's going on than most newspapers. Definitely check out the "To Blog or Not to Blog" section of the site, as well as the "What to Watch and Where" section. That one in particular spells out in a single paragraph what you should watch depending on what you want out of the convention: "Only C-Span and PBS will provide full convention coverage commercial free. The three major networks -- ABC, NBC, and CBS -- are scaling back convention airtime. The networks will air only major speeches given in prime time the last few days of the four-day-long conventions. Fox, CNN, and MSNBC cable news channels will also provide coverage, but from opening to closing each day. Their coverage will be interrupted by commercials."
Speaking of kids, The Boston Globe filed a story yesterday on the correspondents from the Frank Ashley Day Middle School in Newtonville, Mass., whose convention reporting strategy for their paper, "The Daytime," might appeal to adult assignment editors who are having trouble with their greener correspondents: "They've made lists of the Democratic members of Congress and the Democratic governors. The youngest, least-experienced students will carry cards with pictures of prominent politicians -- House minority leader Nancy Pelosi, for instance, and Senate minority leader Tom Daschle -- so they'll recognize potential interview subjects when they see them. The older staffers already know what the officials look like."
And a thought from one of The Daytime's brass: "We like to think we're on the same level as other media going to the convention. We're going to try to be aggressive about getting interviews," says Rachel Magid, 13, who served as coeditor in chief last year. "For a lot of the candidates it's weird to have a 4-foot-something person interview you, but for us it's pretty regular. Earlier in the year we interviewed the governor. Every time we win an award, Kerry and Kennedy write us letters. We're kind of public figures, I guess, for people our age."
The Boston Globe: New Media
washingtonpost.com political columnist Terry Neal is giving readers some analysis of various convention events. It's not the hot-hot-hot stuff you'll get from the partisan bloggers of either stripe, but it does take the normal "this happened and this person spoke" line one step deeper. For example, the official Democratic convention line is that this is a week for positive emphasis on what John Kerry and John Edwards will do for America, but Neal notes that conventioneers are out for blood -- and that this is the place to spill it: "Conventions are for the purpose of exciting the base as much as they are about turning on swing voters. And this year, in an election many people on both sides feel will be one of the most pivotal in decades, the base is in no mood for a bunch of happy talk."
Finally, washingtonpost.com also is launching its Best Blogs -- Politics and Elections 2004 Readers Choice awards. Nominations began Monday and run through Sept. 3. Voting for finalists begins Sept. 27 and winners will be announced on Oct. 25. Among the categories: "Best Democratic Party Coverage, Best Republican Party Coverage, Most Original, Most Likely to Last Beyond Election Day, Class Clown and Best Campaign Dirt." Readers and bloggers alike are encouraged to participate in the nomination process.
Cindy Webb is off for a few days. She will return later this week.
Filter is designed for hard-core techies, news junkies and technology professionals alike. Have suggestions, cool links or interesting tales to share? Send your tips and feedback to cindyDOTwebbATwashingtonpost.com. (Yes, those spammers have been having a lot of fun with my e-mail address lately.)