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DNC: MySpace Leads New Communications Frontier

Matt Brady
Ft. Collins Correspondent
Vail, CO Colorado

DENVER, Colorado ”

In a plush lounge at the back of the Corner Office Restaurant and Martini Bar in Denver’s Curtis Hotel, the MySpace Cafe is breaking ground with style as the face of a new era.

For the first time ever, bloggers are credentialed to file their political views at the Democratic National Convention, and Internet users can stroll off the street and upload political thoughts and observations onto their MySpace pages.



MySpace’s presence at the DNC is part of IMPACT, the Web site’s hub for social and civic engagement. There’s another MySpace Cafe set up at Leela’s Cafe, 15th and Stout St., which is open 24 hours a day. MSNBC has partnered with MySpace for the DNC.

Lee Brenner, IMPACT director, spoke to the significance of bloggers and MySpace users being able to weigh in heavily via the Internet with political commentary.



“I think it’s enormous,” Brenner said in an interview with Fort Collins Now. “Our goal is to democratize democracy. I think in terms of the election, it’s the first time that the Internet has played such an enormous role.”

In that vein, MySpace has its own “Citizen Journalist” at the event, chosen in a contest conducted in June in which users uploaded videos to petition for full DNC press credentials.

Matt Britten, 23, of New York City, kicked off his foray into political journalism on Monday, Aug. 25, the first day of the convention.



Britten reveled in being bombarded by cell phone calls and interview requests and having endless Internet posts at his fingertips.

“It’s been unbelievable,” he said. “When I landed here yesterday, upon arriving at the hotel, I saw (Ohio Rep.) Dennis Kucinich and (Kansas Gov.) Kathleen Sebelius. I’m going to see Michelle Obama tonight.” And, he said he’d be appearing on “Morning Joe,” with MSNBC personality Joe Scarborough.

MySpace contracted the Los Angeles independent filmmakers 5432 Films to follow Britten around to record all of his travails.

Britten’s posts and videos can be viewed on http://www.myspace.com/mattbritten or http://www.myspace.com/decision08.

He said his goal is to use his credentials to find out with whom Obama will be surrounding himself if elected president.

Britten has more credentials than most of the working press out covering the DNC for newspapers, radio stations and magazines. And, of course, with all that leverage, he’s looking for the grand prize interview.

“The dream would be Obama,” he said. “We’ll see.”

MySpace IMPACT will also be present with cafes at the Republican National Convention, with citizen journalist Sara Pat Badgley.

It remains to be seen whether any breaking news will emerge from the MySpace camp, but the idea that there could means the flag has certainly been raised on a new communications era of user-generated media, Brenner said.

“The internet has done what TV did years ago and we’re excited to be on the forefront,” he said.


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