February 15, 2005

My Hotline Column

Here is my most recent column from National Journals' The Hotline

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Web consultant Brian Reich returns to write a weekly column on the new and interesting political happenings on the web. Reich can be reached at editor@campaignwebreview.com.

Canary in the Mine Shaft

If I knew how to predict what candidates would win or when scandals would break, I'd be a very powerful person in Washington. Instead, I read the blogs of the people who read the tea leaves and report back on what they think. Here is my latest report:

1) Nicco Mele, the webmaster for the Dean Campaign and a key architect of their online success, told me the other day that 'Yahoo! Groups were the secret weapon of the Dean campaign.' So I was curious -- have any of the 2008 prospects found this little gem? I conducted a survey (unscientific and not-comprehensive) of Yahoo! Group listings for potential 2008 candidates.
Here is what I found: First, Howard Dean still has dozens of groups from across the country supporting him. For example, there are 229 people trading messages in the Oregon for Howard Dean 2004 group (12 messages posted in the last week) and 400 people claim membership in the Illinois for Howard Dean group (15 messages posted last week). 91 have signed up for the Northwest Indiana (Gary, Hammond, Whiting, East Chicago, Dyer, Munster, Highland, Griffith, etc) group, and there are 97 active members from Essex County, NJ, etc. Lastly, a group called Democratic Wings boasts 186 "Americans who have been inspired by Howard Dean and who are considering a run for an elected office." Of course, Governor Dean has a new job awaiting him, so those groups may want to shift their focus.

As for the next cycle, the group supporting John Kerry in 2008 has 8 members (the remaining 2004 group has 91). Mitt Romney has a loyal following of four. Joe Biden has four people in his group as well. Rudy Guiliani doesn't have a group. Condoleeza Rice has 29 people in her fan club. Fifteen people are signed up for the Yahoo! Group looking to Draft Mark Warner. And only one person has signed up for the pro-Hillary Yahoo! Group while there are nine people in an
anti-Hillary group.

Of all the potential candidates, Who had the largest following? The early prize goes to Even Bayh. The Yahoo! Group dedicated to exploring the candidacy of Evan Bayh for President in 2008 is 183 members strong. I'm not sure yet how many votes in New Hampshire that will win him, but it does show a commitment by the Senator's grassroots base to organize online early. The new Dean-N-C looks favorably on that kind of thing, so pay attention.

2) Let me introduce you to the New Blog On The Block

Fishbowl: DC is the latest in the proud tradition of gossip blogs. Except this one is focused on the DC media scene. Its smarter and more focused than Wonkette but is careful not to take itself as seriously as a real organ of journalism. At the helm of this new media empire is Garrett Graff, the Vice President of online communications for EchoDitto and former deputy national press secretary for Howard Dean's presidential campaign. Garrett IM'd the following insights to me from his perch behind the little plastic castle:

1) Why DC? Are you trying to pick a fight with Wonkette?

This city revolves around the 4,000 reporters who inhabit it -- and yet, there is almost no reporting on the press. Sure, you'll get a Post column here, a City Paper column there, maybe even a little buzz in the Washingtonian. A DC dateline is the holy grail for many reporters and they are rewarded by having tremendous sway over what our nation debates. If there was no medium to cover their back stories -- highlight their successes and mock them relentlessly for their spectacular mind-bogglingly stunning failures, where would that leave us? That’s where FishBowl comes in.

As for Wonkette? Ha! To say we’re in competition with Wonkette is sort of like saying that the Washington Post is in competition with Scholastic Magazine. We may be in the same 'industry,' but we're not in the same league. She got lucky
with one anal sex story and ever since it’s “Wonkette-this” and “Wonkette-that.” She doesn't even show up for work anyone, claiming something about a book deal. Just wait, the stuff we'll dig up on her will make, well, even her blush.

2) Are you really qualified for this? Why should we take you seriously?

I’m not the slightest bit qualified, but when have “qualifications” ever limited a reporter inside the Beltway? At least I write my own stuff. We’re following in the finest traditions of Bob Woodward’s reporting: We’ll be nice to our friends and sources, and merciless to those who don’t return our phone calls.

3) What story will you blog that will blow the roof off this town?

Stay tuned for a story involving a goat and a certain editor-in-chief.... well, just stay tuned.

4) What's your favorite color crayon (and of course, why?)

I’ve always been a Cerulean fan. Cerulean. Blue. But I’m supposed to be 'objective,' so I'll stop there.


Send your tips, comments, and favorite recipes to Brian directly. He'll appreciate them a lot more than we will.

Brian Reich writes regularly for Campaign Web Review and Personal Democracy Forum about the impact of the Internet on politics and campaigns. During this past election cycle, Brian coordinated online media for the Democratic News Service at the Democratic convention and was credentialed to blog the Republican Conventions as well as the Presidential Debates.


Posted by Brian at 02:00 PM | Comments (9331)

February 01, 2005

Podcasting

I recorded a podcast last week about Saul Alinsky's Rules for Radicals and how its lessons can be applied to online organizing. EchoRadio Episode Eight is now live at radio.echoditto.com. Check it out.

The podcast is the latest step in my new project to write New Rules for Radical Communications. What does that mean? Well, I am working to update Saul Alinsky's lessons for the Internet age. I launched a blog about the project and am writing a book/paper outline now.

There is much work still to be done. Stay tuned.

Posted by Brian at 12:39 PM | Comments (0)

August 08, 2004

Convention "Work"

As many of you know, Brian was co-director of the DNS (Democratic News Service) Internet team during the convention a couple of weeks ago. He was responsible for coordinating tons of interviews between online media, the media darling bloggers, and senators, representatives, and other campaign surrogates. Karen was one of his 15 volunteers.

We started the week out on Saturday, at the Sheraton where many of the members of the DNC were housed and where we picked up our media party credentials. The Sheraton provided fancy refreshments in celebration of the convention, including these fancy cookies.
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On Sunday, we got a bit of VIP treatment at President Clinton's booksigning at the Prudential Center. Karen got to see her old colleagues and we both got our books signed and engaged in a little small talk with the last greatest leader of the free world.

Senator Bill Nelson from Florida interviews with Tim Grieve of Salon.com
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An interview for the convention website with Melissa Fitzgerald, "Carol" from the West Wing. She was representing Environment 2004 and spoke very well to a host of important democratic causes.
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Jeanine Garafolo was stumping every time we walked by the Air America Radio booth.
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Benjamin McKenzie, aka "Ryan" from the OC, not only spoke to the convention delegates, but he also interviewed for the convention's official website and was more than gracious to take some pictures with us after a very long day.
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The bloggers were a favorite for the Daily Show crew. Unfortunately, we were never home in time to see how it aired.
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Since it was the official 4 year reunion of our meeting, Brian and I took a few minutes out to capture ourselves on film.
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Some of our high-profile hook-ups for the bloggers: Senator Harkin (IA)
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The bloggers soak it all in.
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Rep. Matsui (CA) "courts" the bloggers while he explains how the DCCC decides where the funds go in an election year.
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Just one of the many news trucks
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With so many VIPs walking around, this was actually an accidental shot of Rev. Jesse Jackson as I tried to shoot the news truck.
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The media tent
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Our entrance
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Radio row
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The DNS entrance
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So we didn't get the best real-estate...
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Remember, it was the FIRST time a convention had the Internet as a separate component...
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Tired, but very happy, conventioners
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Some views of the barricade
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Posted by Karen at 07:13 PM | Comments (0)

August 04, 2004

Brian on "Greater Boston"

June 28 was the 2nd time Brian was on Greater Boston's Monday night dot.compass feature that focuses on different aspects of the Internet. The show, on WGBH, Boston's PBS station is a "nightly local program that examines the region's top news and newsmakers." This is the start of Brian's expertise being shared more widely - and his wife couldn't be more proud or impressed.

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Posted by Karen at 10:26 PM | Comments (2)

August 02, 2004

Senior Management Team Retreat

The members of Jumpstart's SMT met for 3 days at the end of June in Boston at Hale and Dorr's offices to plan for FY05. Karen helped plan and facilitate the retreat, including creating these beautiful red binders.

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Post-retreat festivities
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Posted by Karen at 09:48 PM | Comments (1)

Jumpstart Summer BBQ

On June 24, Jumpstart had a summer celebration barbeque for staff and interns at Wayland Town Park. Everyone had a lot of fun playing volleyball, water balloon tossing, kayaking, and eating!

John and Erin talk shoulder surgery
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Kate, Emily, and Ali soak in the sun
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The water balloon toss begins...
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Kim smiles for the camera
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The boys take over the grill
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Katy and Jennifer
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Meghan, Sarah, and Jennifer
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Dave, Maren, Julia, Jessamyn, and Katey
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Erin, Jessica, and James
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Karen, Erin, and Marissa
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Posted by Karen at 09:16 PM | Comments (6)

June 13, 2004

In the Hotline!

Brian's weekly column in the Hotline debuted this week. Check out Emily's post, including shots of the column, on her blog. Check it out!

Posted by Karen at 12:59 PM | Comments (0)

April 17, 2004

BloggerCon

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I woke up early and went to BloggerCon this morning.

I attended/participated in two sessions: What is Journalism? and Presidential Bloggers.

Posted by Brian at 04:32 PM | Comments (257)

Kerry and Clinton Visit Jumpstart

Karen and the gang at Jumpstart had a busy week. Presumptive Democratic Presidential Nominee, John Kerry, and Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton visited a Jumpstart center in New York.

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Posted by Brian at 04:23 PM | Comments (0)

April 05, 2004

Brian wins an AWARD!

Brian's brilliant Halloween e-card campaign for UNICEF won an Honorable Mention in the Best National Email Campaign category at the Pollie Awards hosted by the American Association of Political Consultants.

"The Pollie Awards honor the very best in political campaign advertising and expertise. Winners are chosen from over 80 different categories, recognizing a wide spectrum of political and public affairs communications."

It's a big deal to get a mention at the Pollies. The president of the organization writes, "This year's Pollie Awards honor the highest professional achievements in Public Affairs. The Pollies truly provide a standard that this young industry can strive towards in all of its campaigns."

On a related note, Brian's boss at Mindshare has decided that he wants Brian to be the face and voice of the company on all things media-related. He's been quoted in many articles already, has been a guest on a local Boston public television news show and is getting his head shot taken next week!

Way to go Bri!

Posted by Karen at 09:51 PM | Comments (0)

April 03, 2004

Jumpstart Event

Karen and I attended a phenomenal fundraiser for Jumpstart this week. The occasion was the 10th Anniversary of the organization, and we were joined by Karen's parents for the festivities.

The event was held at the Kennedy Library, on a very rainy and cold Thursday night. In spite of the weather, over 400 people attended, including the five original founders of the organization (only one of whom I had met before Thursday) and the heads of Pearson, American Eagle, and Starbucks, Jumpstart's corporate partners. I was actually surprised how many people in the crowd Karen and I knew, recognized, or had a connection to.

As an aside, I wore my vintage British prep-school jacket for the evening, and received many compliments.

There were two highlights to the evening for me: First, I spent the first part of the evening escorting Karen's parents around (Karen had to work) and introducing them to Karen's friends and colleagues from work. Not surprisingly, everyone raved about Karen and her work, telling us that she has literally transformed the organization. I have known for a long time just how special Karen is, how hard she works, and what an effect she can have on folks. But hearing it from all of her colleagues first hand, and watching Jim and Ev light up with pride, made it that much more special.

Second, as the evening wound down, I made it my personal quest to talk with Howard Schultz, the founder and chief global strategist for Starbucks. Schultz also happens to be the owner of the Seattle Supersonics. As he headed for the exit, and a flight back to Seattle, I stepped in his path and stuck my hand out. "I don't have any reason to talk to you other than the fact that I grew up in Seattle and I have been a lifelong Sonics fan," I said. As he shook my hand, I told him that I supported the direction he was taking the team, and was confident that the Sonics (under the leadership of Nate McMillan) were headed towards greatness. He smile and said "Thank you, I think we are building something special... I just wish we were winning now." I agreed, and we commiserated briefly about the Sonics Wednesday night loss to the Timberwolves. We were both clearly resigned to the fact that the Sonics won't make the playoffs this year, but I was encouraged to have met a basketball owner (and the owner of my team) who clearly understood the game and what it took to be a winner.

A really terrific evening all around -- for Jumpstart, for Karen and her parents, and for me.

Posted by Brian at 09:26 AM | Comments (0)