Both the Democratic and Republican national conventions -- scheduled for next week and the following week, respectively -- will feature major roles for bloggers, giving them the same access as traditional press.
Hundreds of bloggers are slated to attend the Democratic convention in Denver -- 500 alone paid $100 for access to an 8,000-square-foot Google-sponsored blogging facility -- and 200 are slated to attend the Republican convention in Minneapolis-St. Paul, where Google will be providing a similar facility.
Moreover, in keeping with the 50-state strategy espoused by Democratic National Committee chairman and former Presidential candidate Howard Dean, the Democratic National Convention Committee chose 55 official state blogs -- one from every state and territory -- and gave press credentials to up to eight bloggers from each state. A total of 120 blogs received credentials, according to the DNCC.
"This is really about tearing down the walls of the convention so that ordinary people can see inside through the eyes of an ordinary person," Dean said in a May announcement of the program -- appropriately published on YouTube.
Other technology advances at the Democratic convention include gavel-to-gavel high definition streaming (using the same Microsoft Silverlight technology used to stream the Olympics), daily webcasts, Spanish-language video streaming, and a partnership with YouTube to enable attendees to upload video and photos, even from camera phones.
The Republican National Convention has not yet provided that level of detail about its technology plans but said, "The convention will utilize numerous mediums – both emerging and traditional – to share our nominee’s vision with the American people. We have a great appreciation for bloggers and the ever-increasing role new media has in providing real-time information and shaping public opinion," according to the convention website.