Sunday, June 17, 2007

Preaching to the Choir

Yesterday's story in The Los Angeles Times, "The Political Guru Wore Tennis Shoes," seems to be another case of how major newspapers are becoming the slowest of web aggregators rather than real sources for independent reporting on late-breaking events. Now that crime coverage seems to depend on rehearsing the parties' MySpace and YouTube pages instead of detailing the forensic evidence and experts are represented by blog postings rather than interviews, I don't have much hope for the marriage of print journalism and the web. Occasionally a newspaper like The Los Angeles Times devotes column space to explaining something like the Green Tea Girlie hoax, but -- more often than not -- what is being reported is old news to those following events on the political or social web.

The subject of the article, recent Georgetown alum James Kotecki, has been around long enough to have scholarly papers written about him. Clearly candidates are listening to the advice from this likable preppy ex-intern on appropriate styles for YouTube rhetoric, and its interesting that Kotecki describes his online community of practice as "video-sharing," which sounds suspiciously close to the much legislated against "file-sharing." In particular, Kotecki praises his "oratory" and video editing of John Edwards and the way that Edwards creates enough super small-screen content to narrowcast on very specific issues. As Malcolm Gladwell observes about spaghetti sauce, perhaps the Platonic ideal is impossible in the branding of political candidates as well.

Unfortunately, Kotecki's latest video seems to be more cheerleading for the CNN/YouTube campaign media event, which -- as I wrote yesterday -- hasn't impressed me much thus far.

Update: For another example on how the LA Times covers "news" about the Internet six months late, check out this item on the "launch" of Conservapedia.

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