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Barry-ing the Hatchet

Similar observations found in the Seattle Times: "A former software entrepreneur and Harvard Law fellow, [scriptingnews.com author Dave Winer] hooks up at the hotel with Michael Feldman, another credentialed blogger (dowbrigade.com) and a language professor at Boston University. Rick Heller (centristcoalition.com), a blogger from outside Boston, makes it three. First, there are people typing in the lobby. Who are they? Winer wants to know, and is there a free wireless network? He interviews a writer from L.A. Weekly, so three bloggers are interviewing a print reporter as another takes notes. 'Piranhas eating piranhas,' Feldman says."
Wired: Stars of Convention -- Bloggers
The Seattle Times: 'Bloggers' Boulevard' Is a Detour From the Conventional Coverage

You Too Can Join the Paparazzi

Who can blame the bloggers for spending all their time tapping away while the convention unfolds around them? After all, most of the interesting material emanating from Boston is appearing in cyberspace. The Boston Globe, which already has provided great coverage -- and essential surviving-the-convention tips -- went one step further with a fun "online celebrity sightings" package. It features reader-submitted photos (posed shots with Jerry Springer, Ben Affleck, Janet Reno, Al Franken and even the redoubtable Biff Henderson of "Late Night With David Letterman" fame).

_____Filter Archive_____
Google: Should You Search for a Better Deal? (washingtonpost.com, Aug 2, 2004)
No Synchronicity for Apple, RealNetworks (washingtonpost.com, Jul 30, 2004)
Bloggers Type It Like It Is in Boston (washingtonpost.com, Jul 29, 2004)
The Blogger Circus (washingtonpost.com, Jul 27, 2004)
Democrats Get Wired in Boston (washingtonpost.com, Jul 26, 2004)
More Past Issues

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Among the other celebrity citings noted in the piece: "Reported: On July 27 at 1:15pm, former President Bill Clinton spent an hour in Alpha Omega in Harvard Square, tying up traffic and causing gridlock for pedestrian traffic. However, it was all worth it when he came out, shook my hand, waived to everyone across JRK street, hopped into his Suburban, rolled down the window and waived to everyone lining the road. Now that's a great President! by: Jason, Cambridge."

washingtonpost.com political columnist and blogger Terry Neal left the convention behind, meanwhile, heading over to meaner streets of Roxbury with a videographer to interview residents about their thoughts on George W. Bush and John Kerry. The interviews are straightforward and definitely not flashy, but they're one of the first reminders outside of the Globe's coverage that there's a real city outside the FleetCenter bunker.
The Boston Globe: Online Celebrity Sightings
washingtonpost.com: Terry Neal in Roxbury (Registration required)

Phoning It in From Boston

The Wall Street Journal won today's award for most interesting convention coverage angle with a story on Internet telephone company Vonage trying to gain recognition among convention attendees. "VOIP or vodka? That was the choice facing attendees of one of Boston's hot convention parties Monday night. The Distilled Spirits Council of the U.S., a liquor-industry group, and Vonage Holdings, an Internet phone-service company, were both sponsors of the bash at Anthem restaurant. Partygoers could choose between tasting shots of a variety of liquors, including Chivas Regal and Jack Daniels, or learning about the fledgling business of voice over Internet Protocol." The Journal continued: "It was Vonage's first foray into the noise of corporate-sponsored convention parties, hundreds of which are being held this week. Election watchdogs criticize the party circuit for circumventing campaign-finance laws and giving companies direct access to delegates and congressmen. For Vonage, that opportunity was precisely the attraction."

Vonage, of course, is hanging out at the convention to persuade powerbrokers that Internet telephone service should not be regulated like traditional voice service. But never mind that jazz -- the real question is, "Yeah, but WHY at a convention?" Thanks to the Journal, we have the answer: "The corporate influence extends beyond parties to the convention itself, where companies show off their latest televisions, wireless communications, or, in General Motors' case, a smoothie machine powered by one of the company's hybrid trucks. The Campaign Finance Institute in Washington said official convention spending -- which is disclosed -- has skyrocketed since the Federal Election Commission loosened restrictions on corporate donations in 1994. Spending this year at the Democratic and Republican conventions is expected to top $100 million, a more than 10-fold increase from $8.4 million in 1992."

So how did Vonage measure up against the vodka festivities? "The poster board, touting various price plans, seemed aimed at consumers and small businesses thinking of switching to Internet telephony, rather than at congressmen thinking of regulating it. ... Some attendees left empty cocktail glasses on the Vonage table rather than picking up materials."
The Wall Street Journal: Vying for Attention in Boston -- Fledgling Vonage Wants to Tell Its Story, But Partygoers Gravitate to Free Drinks (Subscription required)

The Kids Are All Right, Part II

Yesterday's Filter took a look at some of the cooler aspects of online convention coverage and discovered that a crew of reporters and editors still too young to vote were presenting some of the easiest information for readers of all ages to digest. Today's "adolescents ascending" report comes from the San Francisco Chronicle, which profiled 12-year-old Ilana Wexler of Oakland, Calif., founder of the kidsforkerry.org Web site (Note, the site wasn't working this morning). "The feisty student at Julia Morgan School and founder of 'Kids for Kerry' -- the youngest prime-time speaker at this year's Democratic convention -- showed off plenty of the stuff that makes for a future politician this week as she prepared for her big moment Tuesday night. And talk about pressure: she shared the podium with Ted Kennedy, Howard Dean, Ron Reagan and Teresa Heinz Kerry, no less. Ilana told the full house at the FleetCenter that she had planned to spend the summer at her favorite camp but now was volunteering every day at a campaign office for presumptive Democratic nominee John Kerry," the Chronicle reported.

Young Wexler had some choice words for Vice President Dick Cheney and his recent use of a choice word on the Senate floor: "Our vice president, he said a really bad word. If I said that word ... I would get a time out. I think he should be given a time out." So should that apply to Mrs. Heinz Kerry's recent "shove it" comment to a journalist...?
San Francisco Chronicle: Kid for Kerry Wows the Dems

Filter columnist Cindy Webb is off for a few days. She will return later this week. Feel free, Dave Barry fans, to send comments on this column directly to Robert MacMillan.

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