Bloggers to Get Media Access at GOP Meeting Too

By: Anick Jesdanun, AP Internet Writer

(AP) Several Web diarists received invitations this week to cover the Republican National Convention as journalists, a GOP official said Tuesday.

The Democrats also accredited so-called bloggers to their quadrennial presidential nominating convention for the first time. About three dozen Web diarists joined approximately 15,000 journalists from traditional media in Boston at this week’s Democratic convention.

Republican convention spokesman Leonardo Alcivar said his party plans to give media credentials to 10-20 bloggers.

“It’s an emerging community that has a role to play as the media landscape evolves over time,” Alcivar said. “Like the first skybox provided for CNN in the 1980s and the rise of talk radio in the early to mid ’90s, we believe this is another media milestone in convention coverage.”

Though Alcivar said he did not know how many bloggers got invitations this week, he expected additional ones will be invited based on how many accept by Thursday.

Alcivar refused to provide a list of invited bloggers, saying the party does not disclose traditional media who are approved for credentials, either. He said the list reflected a mix of ideologies and consisted of “those who we believe are moderate in their tone.”

Michele Catalano, a Republican, said on her blog, A Small Victory, that she had received an invite, and Brian Reich, a former aide to Democrat Al Gore, disclosed in an e-mail to The Associated Press, that he, too, got an invite.

At the Aug. 30-Sept. 2 convention at Madison Square Garden in New York, bloggers will have workspace set aside and dubbed “Bloggers Corner” — comparable to the “Bloggers Boulevard” being offered by Democrats at the FleetCenter this week.

The GOP invitation, dated Monday, promised that bloggers will have access to the same media areas as traditional journalists.

Democrats approved credentials for about three dozen bloggers out of some 200 applicants. They rescinded approvals for another 20, blaming a computer gaffe.

To avoid such problems, Alcivar said, Republicans opted to invite bloggers in smaller waves.

Because of time constraints, staffers sought out bloggers to invite rather than initiating an open application process, he said.

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