On the Two-Tiered Blogging at CPAC

If you aren’t a blogger, this post probably won’t be of interest to you, it has to do with the sort of caste system set up for bloggers at CPAC. Stacy has a long post about it, and I don’t disagree with anything he said. Nobody forces me to put so much effort into this blog, and nobody forced me to go to CPAC. But that doesn’t mean I was happy about the accommodations for bloggers who didn’t have access to the bloggers lounge.

Joy McCann picked up on it in her post on the whole dress code flap.

Karen at Lonely Conservative weighs in.

Apparently, she didn’t get into the Bloggers’ Lounge this year. As I understand it, this was the first year that we had two tiers of blogging, and in a way that’s really unfortunate. Perhaps next year there should be a sort of “media overflow lounge” where we can meet with some of the boutique bloggers and the up-and-comers. (I’m very small-time, myself, but I’m connected enough that barely I made it in [and, no, not by showing skin or flirting].)

Ed Morrissey and I talked a bit at BlogBash about how odd it is that New Media at CPAC has grown as big as it has, and although I know that this makes some people wistful, all-in-all it’s likely a good thing: information is good, and avenues for its dissemination are to be desired in the conservative movement (and in a democratic republic at large).

But I’m not crazy about it forcing a tiered system on us, wherein there are two classes of bloggers. With 500 bloggers, however, and fire codes preventing us all cramming ourselves into that one room, I’m not sure what can be done . . . unless we get a different room that doesn’t feature access to the main ballroom. It could be that that is the next step.

Jerry Wilson, who was granted credentials, but couldn’t make it after all, wondered where he would have been if did attend CPAC this year.

This does lead to the question as to where I would have worked. Propped up against a wall in the hallway? Somewhere out in the lobby? Holed up in my hotel room, wheresoever that might have been? Questions that shall forever remain unanswered.

I can answer those questions for him. But first, let me share with you what I was told in the email granting me credentials. [Emphasis added]

Your official CPAC 2012 Blogger Credentials grant you complimentary admission to CPAC 2012, as well as access to the Media Filing Center (equipped with Wi-Fi) ; media and blogger reserved seating in the main ballroom; access to all CPAC presentations, panels and trainings; and access to ACU Board Members and staff for interviews and inquiries.

When I confirmed that I would not be allowed into bloggers lounge, I proceeded to the media filing center, since I was told I would have access. But when I tried to go in, I was told it was restricted to traditional media, and bloggers weren’t allowed in. I was told to go to the balcony set aside for bloggers.

Now remember, this is a big place. I was wearing uncomfortable shoes (I know, my own fault) and carrying a heavy laptop bag. The media filing center is no where near the bloggers lounge, and the balcony is no where near the media filing center. So I proceeded to the balcony. Half the space was taken up by audio and video equipment. There was an open area in front of the steps to the balcony (where I sat on the floor during one speech) and the other half of the space consisted of several rows of chairs placed next to each other – with no space in between. Bloggers had their laptops on their laps. Since the balcony is part of the main ballroom, there was no talking between bloggers. There was no where to set a bottle of water, a cup of coffee or a soda. There was no place to leave one’s things when leaving the balcony to go get a bite to eat, walk around the conference, or use the rest room.

I ended up leaving and going back to my hotel room because it was impossible to get any work done under the circumstances. I called my husband and told him I didn’t think I wanted to attend next year. It wasn’t until I readjusted my attitude, and decided to simply leave the laptop in my room, that I changed my mind.

The following day I did notice that tables had been placed in the balcony area set aside for bloggers, but by that point I had given up on the idea of blogging at CPAC. Maybe next year they can do better by the bloggers who aren’t part of the in crowd. Perhaps they could find room for a “bloggers filing center” where we can set up our laptops and get to know each other while we provide our readers with coverage of the event.

Update: Don’t get me wrong about the point of this post. Were my feelings a little hurt by my exclusion from the bloggers lounge? Yes, especially after having had access in the past. But I got over that. I would have loved to be in a room full of other bloggers, no matter what “tier” they happen to fall in.

Update 2: Linked by The Camp of the Saints – thanks!

Update 3: Linked by Goldfish and Clowns – thanks!

Update 4: Donald Douglas linked an earlier post and throws in his two cents.