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Sunday, April 29, 2007

Blogging and Beyond

As I departed San Dimas Saturday morning, I took it for granted; I had given myself plenty of time to meet David Markland at Blogging and Beyond for the ten thirty start. All went well till I reached Fairfax on the Santa Monica Freeway, the traffic came to a halt and inched slowly to my destination. David and I stayed in touch with text messages, and I finally told him I would be arriving later than I had expected.

When I entered the auditorium, I could not see David, and felt like the spotlight was upon me by being the only person standing, so I grabbed a seat near the front. As I took my third photograph, I was informed by one of the volunteers pictures were not allowed.

RJ Smith moderated the panel and is a senior editor at Los Angeles magazine, where he writes about the media. Smith previously wrote about music for the Village Voice and Spin.

Hugh Hewitt became Executive Editor of Townhall.com in 2006, when Salem Communications purchased it and re-engineered it from a web magazine into a conservative new-media and activism forum.

Kevin Roderick's LA Observed has become the go-to source for links and insight about life in the Los Angeles.

Jill Leovy writes the Los Angeles Times Homicide Report, which has become one of the most popular blogs at the newspaper’s online edition.

The panel held a lively discussion on blogging, and how it has changed the landscape of the online world. But the topic that caught my attention was anonymous comments and how time consuming it is. All the bloggers agreed anonymous comments are not productive, with only fifty percent of users actually reading the comments. The past few weeks the staff of this blog has considered removing anonymous comments, and after attending this panel this may very well be the direction we are headed.
Estimates prior to the Festival of Books was set at 300,000 visitors, but I would say the crowds exceeded that number easily for the two days.

With tickets for all events sold out, every forum had standby lines, and I was able to attend the standing room only The Future of the media, with Los Angeles Times Editor James O’Shea.


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