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SacBee: CA Blogosphere Growing Up

by: Julia Rosen

Sat Jan 13, 2007 at 00:50:16 AM PST

(Also check out Dan Ancona's post at Speak Out California responding to Salladay's LA Times post about us "sallow depressives." - promoted by SFBrianCL)

A wonderful thing is happening in the California blogosphere.  We are growing up.  People are getting asked to appear as television pundits, staffers are asking us to come to the Capitol to talk on a panel, traffic is booming and now the press is paying attention.  Don't worry, I am not talking about Salladay's post.  That has been well covered here and here.

Shane Goldmacher's article for the SacBee is now up and it is quite good.  Shane is a young guy, who ran a pretty successful blog himself and understands the medium.  He has seen our blogosphere grow tremendously as of late.  I really could pick any number of paragraphs, but here is a taste.  The article is titled "Blogger bloc seeks a shake-up: Liberal writers for political Web sites run for delegate seats in their bid to influence Democratic Party policies."

Julia Rosen :: SacBee: CA Blogosphere Growing Up
Paula Villescaz, an 18-year-old student at Mira Loma High School, is one of the many posters to announce her candidacy on Leubitz's Calitics Web page.

"The state party is largely composed of old buddies who get together to socialize every once in a while, with most meetings being poorly attended and little business getting done in them," wrote Villescaz, who spent much of the last year working on Charlie Brown's unsuccessful bid to unseat Rep. John Doolittle, R-Roseville. "This is why I hope to get a seat."

At most, bloggers could fill 3 percent of the 960 state Democratic Party Assembly delegate seats. But win or lose, the cyber voices of liberals like Leubitz and Villescaz are starting to be heard.

The clearest measure of their success is their steadily increasing Web traffic.

"I started the site in August 2005, and back then I would get 90 hits a day," recalls Leubitz. "In November, it peaked at 3,000."

I haven't peeked at the stats lately, but we are doing better than that now.  Like Brian, I started blogging heavily here in California in Aug of 05.  There was a pretty anemic blogging scene given the progressiveness of the state and the fact that a number of big national bloggers live in the state.  Since then dozens of sites have popped up, full of excellent writers and dedicated activists.  Calitics itself has expanded its stable of bloggers and is now a daily read for bloggers, staffers and reporters.  More than one post has made its way into a mainstream publication.

One of the sites that has launched since Aug 05 is Frank's California Progress Report.  He and I spent some time hanging out at Debra Bowen's inauguration this Monday.  He didn't tell me he has been appearing on TV.  I had to learn about it from this article.  Great stuff Frank!

But there have been other, perhaps more tangible, signs of the rising influence of liberal blogs -- or "netroots," as they call themselves.

Frank Russo, who operates the California Progress Report, another liberal Web site, says he is now being booked as a pundit on traditional media outlets. He is a weekly guest on Bay Area talk radio and was an on-air analyst for KPIX, the Bay Area's CBS affiliate, on election night.

"That wouldn't have happened before I started my site," says Russo, whose Web page has logged more than 200,000 visitors since its launch last March.

Frank has poured a ton of hours and thousands dollars into his site.  Like most, blogging is a passion project and a labor of love.  I am one of the very few to actually get paid to do some of this work, something hopefully changes with time.  As I said in the article "It is a dream position.  There are very very few people nationally who are paid to blog."

But enough about me.  I want to talk about something that is mentioned in the article.  A few of us have been invited by Steve Maviglio to appear on a panel in the Capitol for a group of Assembly Chief of Staffs and Press Secretaries.  We have a bunch of ideas about what we want to talk about, but I would love to get your input.  What makes a good elected official blogger?  What would you like to see them doing in terms of outreach?  What will they get out of spending time and resources in the blogosphere?

Once again, best of luck to Paula (that's her pictured in the article) and all of the rest of you running this weekend.  We have accomplished a lot in the past year and a half.  There is a lot more to do, so stay tuned.  Hang out at Calitics.  Get more involved with your local grassroots.  And let's work together to make this state match the idealized one in our heads.

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the bee is surprisingly good about noticing blogs (0.00 / 0)
its associated site ipso sacto is an interesting idea, and their regional blogroll is fairly exhaustive.

Kudos to the Sac Bee (0.00 / 0)
I must say that I'm quite impressed with this article. For once, we're actually portrayed as real people...
Ya know, more thasn just "sallow depressives who enjoy debating meaningless bylaws more than, say, interacting with human beings."

I like interacting with human beings...
That's kinda why I'm running: I want this party to begin working for real people again!

Thanks for giving a heads-up on this one, juls.

: )

Had enough of the "red county" right-wing crazy-talk bulls***? Well, then come and visit us at The Liberal OC! Yes, there ARE liberals in The OC! : )

Shane Goldmacher seems to grasp many of the dynamics (0.00 / 0)
In any other single field the assumption would be that those who are not using computers are the crazy ones, but for some unknown reason too many times it comes off the wrong way with politics -- but Goldmacher avoided this trap.

Activists using the internet who want to integrate into the CDP. Assembly leadership who don't use the internet enough who want to integrate policy and communication online. A long way to go but lots of progress. Sounds like great news for California Democrats.

For Dem activists who found their way here due to the story, I hope you'll bookmark the site, start an account to comment, and don't be a stranger.

Twitter: @BobBrigham

Great Story (8.00 / 2)
While I think that the bulk of columns and comments that permeate this website are akin to Marxist, I think it was great ink for Calitics!  Great job.  In the battle for relevancy for web-based activism, we're on the same side.

Jon Fleischman
Publisher, The FlashReport.

I respect your quote (0.00 / 0)
I thought it was big of you to choose to agree that the medium is important rather that use it as an excuse to take a potshot based on left/right.

Thanks, that was cool.

Twitter: @BobBrigham

[ Parent ]
"Marxist"?? (0.00 / 0)
Nice use of a Strawman.
Any marxists here, or just Liberal/Progressive Democrats?

(-8.50/-7.44) Progressive Blue, An Oasis

[ Parent ]
social democrat with anarchist leanings here (0.00 / 0)
although marx is an important economic historian, i wouldn't call myself a marxist.

i wonder if our friend thinks FDR was a marxist.

[ Parent ]
Doesn't really mean anything (0.00 / 0)
"Marxist" along with "socialist" and a few other words are the tribalist right-wing equivalent of "poopy-head".  They don't really know or care what the words mean, just that they're names to call the people on the other side.

[ Parent ]
Thanks Jon (0.00 / 0)
I think blending the online and offline activities of activists is a great way to increase political involvement, on both sides of the idealogical spectrum. We saw some people get involved in a productive manner that haven't been in the past.

And that's probably good for everybody.

I think?

[ Parent ]
I WON!!! (8.00 / 3)
I won a seat on the central committee in the 5th AD.
3 people came up to me and told me that they came to vote just for me, based on the article. goood job juls.
I'm the youngest delegate to the convention in CA!! and excited to be a part of everything.
i'll blog about it later =), i gotta upload pics and stuff, but thanks everyone for your support.

I voted for you (8.00 / 1)
(Kings hat, volunteered for Charlie)

I only had three on my list until I knew you were running - then had to add yours.

Congrats ;-)

[ Parent ]
thank you so much... (0.00 / 0)
I appreciate your support!!!

[ Parent ]
Hey Donna ;-) (0.00 / 0)
Is this you?

When do you hear if you win?

There's a good chance you will win because there are only 7 women in your district

[ Parent ]
Dunno (0.00 / 0)
I asked the Convenor to email me with the results.  I keep checking.  There were two other women running on the progressive slate as well, so I don't know the odds.

[ Parent ]
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