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Monday, August 06, 2007

Bob Is On The Street Today, He's Scouting Out Locations

Neglected to post about this little blogger meetup I attended last week, but apparently in the somewhat rarified atmosphere of local bloggerdom, it was considered something of a watershed event, and getting an invitation was supposed to have been something of a "big deal".

Which still leaves me wondering how the heck I got one.

The event was put together by one Chris Pirillo, who I'm told is something of a legend in local blogging circles, particularly for the more geekish among us (which evidently lowers my official "geek quotient" considerably, since I'd never heard of the guy before receiving the invite), and hosted at a local TV station (which, coincidentally just happens to be one with which we've been having ongoing labor issues).

Now, my first take upon receiving the invite was, as I mention above, "why me?" I'm not particularly plugged into the larger world of the Blogosphere, aside from keeping track of the handful of friends who occasionally post, and being a daily visitor to a few sites that track national politics, so I was frankly surprised that someone had enough wherewithal to view my site, then decide it made me worthy of receiving an invitation to this event. More likely what happened ,however, is that Mr. Pirillo simply used one of several online web site locating apps (e.g. GeoURL, or Technorati, both of which I have linked on my page) to scope out a bunch of sites within a given geographic radius to Seattle, then sent out a blanket invite to any and all email addresses that resulted from the search. Based on the handful of conversations I had with other local bloggers, most were equally as perplexed as I was with regards to their presence, and just as suspicious about the motives of why a fairly large MainStream Media outlet would be interested in us lil' ole' bloggers.

Being a bit more on the inside of things with regards to KOMO and their parent company I felt I had good reason to look askance at their largess, but Mr. Pirillo assured the seventy or eighty of us assembled there were in fact no ulterior motives, and that he'd been the one to approach them about putting on the shin-dig in the first place - pointedly without mentioning exactly why he'd gone to this particular company to do so.

(On Edit: It appears he was hooked up with KOMO by a media consultant & blogger who lists Fisher/KOMO as one of his clients. And, it definitely justifies my skepticism that KOMO doesn't really have an agenda in all this.)

Still, given the fact that MSM organs are desperately trying to wrap their corporate brains around all this New Media stuff, what it means for the future of their industry, and probably more importantly, "how can they make a ton of moollah off it?" it's probably not too surprising that they'd jump at the opportunity. Certainly the issue of New Media content development has cropped up frequently in recent negotiations with just about every station with which we have contracts, so I simply cannot imagine that management didn't at least consider the ramifications of bringing a bunch of bloggers into their inner sanctum, and how that might figure into their long-term business plans, whatever they may be.

In any case, the event itself seemed to be fairly well attended,, with a mix between established, high-profile bloggers (aside from Mr. Pirillo, someone pointed out Stefan Sharnkansky of, Justin Carder from, and Seattle PI staff blogger, Monica Guzman, among several others), and common folk such as myself. KOMO laid out a decent spread of food & beverages, and even let us run roughshod over their news set (although Fisher CEO Colleen Brown, who was in attendance, might have blanched a bit at the thought of a - gasp! - union rep sitting in her anchor chair!). A couple of anchors - Goertzen & Chapman - actually did put in a brief appearance, but contrary to the official transcript, they quickly ducked out after taking a survey of the assembly and before getting roped into an endless round of "take a picture with me!".

Mr. Pirillo is intimating that he'd like to see more, larger future meetups of this type. The question in my mind is whether KOMO will continue to foot the bill, and if so, what sort of payback will they expect in the long-term, whether it will simply amount to brain-picking, or whether they actually consider tagging some of these folks to provide content on online and/or mobile platforms. It'll be interesting to see how that plays out (assuming for the moment they DO indeed have some sort of agenda on this), because it certainly could impact reporters, writers and editors at the station, but whether for well or ill is still debatable at this point.

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Posted byCOMTE on 1:51 PM

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