Tuesday, December 4, 2007

The Unpress: New Gatekeepers of the New Hampshire Primary talk on Thursday

I will be attending this event on Thursday. Hopefully, Arnie Arnesen won't completely dominate the discussion:

MANCHESTER, N.H. -- Key political operatives, bloggers, academics and media figures from New Hampshire will gather on Thursday to debate how the Internet is affecting the New Hampshire presidential primary. The public is invited.
"The Internet is an emerging mass medium -- a press without a press," says Bill Densmore, director of the New England News Forum, a sponsor of the Dec. 6 event at Southern New Hampshire University. "How are candidate websites, blogs, mashups, meetups, social networks, citizen reporters and online fundraising affecting political dialog?"
"The Unpress: New Gatekeepers of the New Hampshire Primary," is a free event open to the public from 7 to 8:30 p.m. on Dec. 6 in SNHU's Walker Auditorium in Robert Frost Hall. (MAP LINK BELOW)
Featured discussion leaders -- among bloggers, journalists, citizens and campaign offiicials -- will be James Pindell, New Hampshire political corresponent and blogger for The Boston Globe/Boston.com, Arnie Arnesen, founder of PoliticalChowder.org, and Dr. Kristen Nevious, Ph.D., director of the Marlin Fitzwater Center for Communication at Franklin Pierce University.
"We're inviting New Hampshire's bloggers, reporters, citizens and campaign officials -- anyone who is covering and shaping the primary in ways which weren't possible a decade ago -- to join the forum," says Densmore. "This is a town meeting about new forms of civic engagement."
To reserve a free seat, go to: https://www.123signup.com/event?id=xndqk
The format involves a flexible line between audience and participants. The 200-seat hall will be openly seeded with pre-identified commentators among bloggers, mainstream media, campaign officials and the public. There will also be time for questions from other attendees.

Participants will consider informally three propositions:
1) As the gatekeeper role of the traditional press falls away, our democracy is more hopeful, more transparent and more accountable. Yes, or no?
2) Candidates now spend more time working the grassroots, because they need to influence the web conversation as well as the main-stream media. The result: Clearer issues, more discussion, more diversity. Yes, or no?
3) The Internet cannot alone close the loop on political engagement because it lacks the capacity to project a handshake, it does not replace face-to-face campaigning, and raises difficult questions about trust and conflict-of-interest. Yes, or no?

"The Unpress: The New Gatekeepers of the New Hampshire Primary," is the first event in New Hampshire organized by the New England News Forum. The forum, based at U-Mass/Amherst, received a two-year grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation last year to experiment with new forms of citizen-media accountability and dialog.
"Coverage of the New Hampshire primary is just one example of the impact of new media forms on the relationship between traditional media and the public," says Densmore. "The forum is working to expand and help shape this relationship to foster participatory democracy and community."
Besides the two universities, other principal sponsors of "The Unpress" include the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation, Concord Monitor Online, the Nackey S. Loeb School of Communication, and Stonyfield Farm, Inc.

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