Saturday, June 11, 2005

CNN 25 Special - Blogging: The Fifth Estate

Here is a breaking news story that may be of interest to fellow blog authors and readers. As part of CNN’s 25th Anniversary Special the network hosted a special panel discussion about blogs and bloggers May 31st at the 2005 CNN World Report Conference. The special titled "Blogging: The Fifth Estate" is moderated by CNN senior journalist and news anchor Michael Holmes. The show features some lively panel discussions between Holmes, top blogging and marketing professionals, and the audience. Brian Stelter of TV Newser blogged the show LIVE which totally freaked out Michael Holmes to see how simple it is to Moblog from a wireless Internet connection. Thanks Fishbowl NY for the May 31st post on Brian at the CNN World Report Conference.

This show to my knowledge will not be cablecast in North America but is available only to international viewers of CNNI. The viewing times in Europe are Saturday June 11, 2005 at 12:00 CET and Sunday June 12, 2005 at 19:00 CET. I was able to catch about 30 minutes of the 1 hour long program today and it is a must see for people interested in the bloggers vs. the mainstream debate.

Our very own Rebecca MacKinnon of the
Global Voices project at Harvard University was a featured guest on the show and YES Rebecca spoke up on CNNI for bloggers writing about Africa (Kenya and Zimbabwe) as well as for hard working bloggers from around the world. As a matter of fact she was the only panel member who had any extensive knowledge of what blog authors and readers are doing outside of the U.S.A. Other panel members were terrible in their knowledge about international blogging, although some tried to fake it. This should be a lesson for CNN executives and staffers to 1st check around the globe before you invite respected experts and blogging professionals to an important conference about The Blogosphere.

The panel also briefly discussed the issue of blogging from inside repressive regimes i.e. China and North Korea and the various methods bloggers are using today to protect themselves online from the GESTAPO, hackers, whackos, lunatics, et. Al. vermin in cyberspace.

Thanks Rebecca you were great and without a doubt the most informed member of the CNN panel on Global Blogging. So if your blog has been fortunate enough to get some coverage at the Global Voices
Daily World Blog Updates you may see an increase in visitor traffic and even a pickup in sustained readership thanks to CNNI and Rebecca.

Top MSM journalists and TV news executives were in the audience including CNN’s Chief International Correspondent Christiane Amanpour. It was clear that 27-year news veteran Michael Holmes was somewhat concerned about the blogging phenomena, uninformed about the technologies behind blogs (mobile, video, audio) but at the same time fascinated that ordinary citizens around the world were learning fast how to use blog publishing tools and services to communicate ideas and share knowledge in ways and in sheer numbers that is unprecedented in human history.

A very good introduction to the topic Blogs: The Fifth Estate would be the November 2004 article
The Power and Politics of Blogs at Screenshots by Jeff Ooi, one of Malaysia's and Southeast Asia’s most respected and prolific bloggers.

Below is a list of panel members in attendance to the CNN Conference:

CNN 25 WORLD REPORT CONFERENCE May 30 – June 01, 2005 Atlanta, GA. U.S.A.
BLOGGING: THE FIFTH ESTATE Moderator – Michael Holmes, CNN

Discussion Panel members:

Brian Stelter –
TV Newser
John Arovosis – Americablog
Chris Nolan – Personal Democracy Forum, Politics from Left to Right
John H. Hinderaker - Powerline
Rebecca MacKinnon – Global Voices Online, Rconversation, NK Zone
Howard Kaushansky - Umbria Communications (who?? check this link)

UPDATE June 13th: I watched the 1st half of the 1 hour CNNI special Blogging: The Fifth Estate on Sunday and would like to make the following corrections:

Christopher Allbritton, former AP and NY Daily News journalist and author of the popular blog Back to Iraq 3.0 was also a featured panel member on the show. Brian Stelter was not really a panel member but was simply blogging the conference live which caught the attention of Holmes and the show's director and got Stelter some free airtime. Or were those segments with blogger Brian Stelter staged? Another panel member present was the guy whose comments to a blog were the catalyst behind the U.S. bloggers feeding frenzy on Dan Rather & the CBS News program 60 Minutes "Memogate scandal" . Rather resigned from CBS in March 2005 due to a massive loss of credibility and to pressure received from U.S. bloggers and other unnamed network executive types at CBS. Hey this could really catch-on in other professions like politics for example. Oder?


Anonymous said...

Thanks for bringing this to our attention. It's especially of interest to us given the heartbreaking events of the past three weeks in Zimbabwe. These have been the hardest days yet - its hard to get your head around such immense cruelty and evilness.

I hope it does translate into greater awareness and I especially hope it translates into action to help the people in our country.

It's very difficult to watch the world get excited by the 'Make Poverty History' campaign when the world seems so silent in the face of Mugabe's very deliberate and unspeakably cruel 'Pol Pot-like' attack on the poorest of the poor.

Making Poverty History surely has to involve stopping people like Mugabe.

Why don't people march against him and what he's doing to us? We wonder how much more we have to go through before someone somewhere does something?

Maybe something will shift - we need it to so badly.

BRE said...

You are very welcome and I agree with you that Mugabe must go. Unfortunately Mugabe is still kept in power by a number of his buddies on the African continent and abroad and the people of Zimbabwe are left to fend for themselves.

Don't think that marches and public outcry from concerned citizens around the world are going to do much good as there appears not be enough critical mass (numbers). Look at the situation over in the D.R.C. or up in the Sudan and Northern Uganda. Countries that could help and should help would rather send a little money or make speeches than do what is really needed: help guarantee security for people and support their right to be able to decide how they will be governed and by whom (Democracy?).

Nonetheless don't lose heart because you have come a long way all by yourselves in your fight against Mugabe's oppression. Someday enough people in the world community will finally wake up and help you put a stop to the likes of a Robert Mugabe. At least there are many of us who are with you shoulder-to-shoulder writing away in the Blogosphere.

The word is powerful, so keep writing and sharing information and knowledge with us.

Hope is always the last to die according to an old Russian saying. Don't give up Hope.