I was invited to a blogger breakfast this morning with Mayor Becker. After digesting the surprise and wondering how they decided who to invite (there were only 7 bloggers there) I was excited to see what it would be like. Early on the question was asked if anyone present took a conservative perspective on their blog – I felt a bit lonely but I sure enjoyed meeting some of the bloggers that I have been interacting with for quite a while.
Three things really stuck out to me during the course of the morning. First (and least importantly), it’s nice to have someone else paying for breakfast. Second, I sat next to Glen Warchol and because of my recent interest in journalism and the interaction between reporters and politics, it was fascinating to watch as Glen fired off a number of questions and followups to the mayor to start things off. My respect for the art and skill of the information gathering side of reporting increased noticeably (nothing this morning really touched on the synthesizing and word-crafting side of reporting, but my blogging has already built up my appreciation for that aspect of the process). And the third thing that really stuck out to me? That’s what this is really all about . . .
One of the major topics this morning was the issue of transparency. I really think that this blogger breakfast is a part of the mayor’s transparency initiative – it’s another way for him to try to engage people and get them invoved and connected wtih their city government. Towards the end of the meeting Glen asked all of the bloggers if any of us had sought press credentials at the capital. It occurs to me that part of transparency is making sure that we make use of the options to get information that are already available to us. None of us had sought press credentials at the capital and Glen said we should give it a try. A few of us decided to look into it.
I called Ric Cantrel this afternoon to inquire and was told that the capital was pretty open to anyone who cared to visit, the meetings were generally open to the public and the elected officials wanted to get information out in any way that they could, and finally that they don’t have a policy one way or another on giving press credentials to bloggers. Ric expressed an interest in figuring out a manageable and reasonable policy on granting credentials to bloggers and suggested that it might be useful to meet with a group of bloggers to start hammering out such a policy. I trust that Ric is genuinely interested because he has been a significant force behind The Senate Site blog which is a good source for information – especially during the legislative session.
If anyone else is interested in taking part in the discussion let me know – I’ll keep you updated as I try to set things up.