Monday, February 26, 2007

Richmond blog summit?

While it appears that out of bitterness stemming from recent disappointments some Virginia bloggers have decided that what was the collegial spirit of The Virginia Blog Carnival, the Sorensen Institute’s Blog Summits, even my own little Weekend Without Echoes experiment, does not serve their cause. So, from the rightwing fringe of the blogosphere there is a concentrated effort underway by some to scuttle that spirit. Evidence of that game is easy to find.

But that’s not the way it’s going everywhere. Richmond blogger Tripp Fenderson is proposing a “summit” of Richmond bloggers. Sounds like a good idea to me. Some of his concerns mirror the discussions from the Sorensen confab in June of last year. Among his worthy questions are these:

“...Should there be a relationship (loose or formal) between traditional publishers and the community? Should media companies work to actively share news and information with this community? Should media companies acknowledge the online publishers who bring important stories about the community to the table (or who scoop the story)?”


Waldo Jaquith said...

Such a gathering sounds like a great idea. There should be more regional gatherings of bloggers.

Tripp Fenderson said...

I hadn't read your post about the 2006 Sorensen Blog Summit (note to self: add slantblog to RSS reader) but you hit the nail on the head with this line:

"Collectively, bloggers feel the need to comment and exchange views with others who read something"

Participation, participation, participation.

I'm definitely interested in getting a dialog going about an event like that and I hope that of the many bloggers in the area, some will take the time to consider the questions I've posed - as well as ask their own.

Media companies everywhere are beginning to talk to bloggers about some form of participation and I think the community should be prepared to discuss it when that day comes.

Phriendly Jaime said...

I would attend. In fact, I would be more than happy to help organize and plan the event. :)

The Richmond Democrat said...

Me too: what PJ said.

F.T. Rea said...

Tripp, Phriendly Jaime, J.C.,

Well I’m no expert on blog summits, but I did play/serve as a panelist at the second Sorensen confab, last year, and I thoroughly enjoyed the experience. I was invited to sit on the Blogging and Journalism panel, along with Gordon Morse and Danny Glover. Then Micheal Shear (one of the featured after-lunch speakers) joined us, as well, as a popup panelist.

The audience for that session was mostly bloggers, some were journalists or political operatives. The format was mostly Question and Answer; it was informal and the discussion was lively. Other sessions with similar panels on blogging-related topics -- technical, ethics, etc. -- were held the same day. Attendees paid a fee and picked which sessions they wanted to attend.

It wouldn’t be a cakewalk, but a one-day, all-locals summit with similar format would not be all that difficult to organize. I’m sure we could talk some politicians into being speakers. That is if we want politicians. Because I’d hope such a Richmond blogging summit would not be restricted to political bloggers.

Maybe VCU would want a piece of it, too. I know a couple of publishers that might well want to help in some way.

Anyway, the first thing to do is to get a small group of people in the same room to talk about it. I’m sure I can talk a Fan District restaurant/saloon into offering such an ad hoc group a few tables in a room, and a good deal on beer, to get the ball rolling.

Accordingly, let’s get about a dozen people together, ASAP, just to talk about what such a bloggers summit ought to be.

What do you think? Tripp? Phriendly Jaime? J.C.?

Stay tuned...

David Mastio said...

You can depend on BNN to kick in $100. When you've got a plan in place, just drop me a line at

Jason Kenney said...

I think having a more unformal event might be good to start. I know DC has monthly blogger meet-ups (or did) and something like that, just a regular "hey, we're all gonna meet and have a few drinks and chit chat about whatever" thing could go a bit towards helping build a greater sense of community. Especially for those bloggers who aren't necessarily political or civic bloggers.

But a more formal summit would be nice to, for those of us who do go a bit beyond with the blogging.

F.T. Rea said...


Thanks for getting that ball rolling. I think if this is kept simple, it won't take a whole lot of money, up front. But it will take some. So your gesture is a step in that direction.


Ideas for this project are forming, but before I get too excited and do much about them, I want to sit down with a few people, ASAP, who want to talk about it first.

To all,

I’ll get back to you with news of a get-together -- probably in a Fan District bar in a few days. This will just be an informal thing, no presentations. No final decisions need be made. Just a start. Those interested, please send me your email addresses, so I can let you know when and where. Mine is under my picture in the sidebar.

-- Terry

Tripp Fenderson said...

Sorry for the delayed response. I'm conducting training sessions for some of our staff in Alabama this week, leaving little time to keep up with my reading.

A local meetup sounds like a great idea. Ross of RVABlogs has also talked about getting together in Richmond. I'll see that he's aware of the discussion going on here.

RE: inviting politicians as speakers - my intent was simply to stimulate discussion of the relationships that do, don't and could exist between traditional media and those who publish on their own dime. I'm not opposed to inviting anyone to speak but political blogs are only one topic of many in the growing conversation. I'd simply ask that we keep that in mind when organizing the meetup.

F.T. Rea said...


Thanks for providing a timely spark to begin this project.

Please note that the only bloggers summit I have experience with, the Sorensen convention of 2006, was organized for political bloggers. However, I have no preconceived notion that such gatherings should be that way. In fact, at the first meeting of the folks who want to get this project underway, I will urge the group to consider opening this summit to Richmond-area bloggers, without much of any qualification.

Still, I do see the value of having some organized events, which would probably involve speakers, perhaps panel discussions. Maybe other events, too. To me, the main thing to do is keep an open mind about how a Richmond bloggers summit ought to be until we have benefited from the process of getting together and talking it over.

More on that soon...

F.T. Rea said...

To all,

Please see “Richmond bloggers to meet Mar. 10” (