"Facts are meaningless. You could use facts to prove anything that's even remotely true!"
-Homer J. Simpson

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Interview with the Federal NDP about thier blogging strategy

If you are a frequent reader of this blog (and I know there are at least 2 of you) then you will remember all the kurfuffle that happened back at the beginning of March. To refresh your memory I include links to my posts here and here

Long story short, a blogging dipper made a post that many found to be offensive. The federal NDP denounced him in a letter but gave that letter to a Liberal blogger to post.

Chaos ensued.

Well, I sent in the following request for an Interview on March 10th . I simply went to the "contact us" section of the NDP website and submitted the following:

To Whom it May Concern:

I am a blogger who also happens to be a member of the New Democratic Party. You can access by blog at http://giantpoliticalmouse.blogspot.com. Recently I have made some posts regarding the party and their initiatives to create a blogroll or some sort of affiliated blog system and quite frankly, my comments were not very positive. In the interests of fairness I would like to request an e-mail interview with somebody from the Federal NDP, preferably the President, but another suitable person will do. I will propose a series of questions by e-mail, they will respond the same way, and I will place the entire transcript, without edits, on my blog.

If the Leader of the Party can agree to do a video interview with the head of the blogging tories, then surly it is not asking too much to get the president or someone similar to answer a few questions by e-mail.

There is currently a bit of a backlash against the blogging initiatives that the federal party is undertaking and this might be a way of dealing with some of that backlash.


Giant Political Mouse
I got an e-mail response on Monday of this week (April 23rd) and sent in my questions on Tuesday (April 24th) . The questions and answers are included below.

The person who responded was Joanne Deer who is the Director of Communications for the Federal NDP. The interview is below:


Question: My original request for an interview was made on March 10th. Your e-mail response was received on April 23rd. Obviously I used the incorrect method to obtain an interview. I (or other bloggers) may want to get an interview or have questions answered by the party in the future. If they do they would need a method of obtaining that information in "internet time" so to speak. What is the process that bloggers should use to get a prompt response from the Federal NDP?

Answer: Interview requests and questions needing a quick response can be sent directly to me at joanne[at]ndp[dot]ca

Question: The Federal NDP seems to be starting to have a "blogging strategy". Let me begin by asking, what is the Federal Party's vision for political blogs (of all partisan stripes)?

Answer: We view blogs as an increasingly important and influential tool for informing and engaging the online community. We want to engage with bloggers as we would with any media to get the federal Party's message out.

Question: As a follow-up to that, how does the NDP view the "blogging dippers"? Will they be setting up their own blogroll that will be separate from that group?

Answer: Blogging Dippers is an important progressive community, and we appreciate their desire to maintain independence from the Party's federal office.

We are not developing a separate blogroll and are optimistic the new elected moderators format will hopefully help strengthen Blogging Dippers community.

Question: If the party "endorses" or even just "selects" certain bloggers as "NDP bloggers" what safeguards and/or media damage control plans are in place if one of these bloggers says something that is clearly not party policy or messaging and ends up being offensive or used against the party?

We have never had any plans to endorse or select bloggers.

Question: So far the (arguably) two biggest "NDP party office/blogger" interactions have been the interview by Jack Layton by one of the Blogging Tories and the release of a letter from the President of the Party to a Liberal blogger (Jason Cherniak). It appears (to some) that the outreach component of the party has been to all the bloggers EXCEPT the blogging dippers. I assume this was unintentional - but how is the party going to ensure that friendly bloggers get access to information and responses?

Answer: Our philosophy is to treat bloggers as we would traditional media - to respond to requests and interact with them regardless of their affiliation.

We are absolutely identifying and actively developing relationships with bloggers who are 'friendly' and open to receiving tips and information. Many of the bloggers we are have been working with are already in touch with us through bloggers[at]ndp[dot]ca and my email.

Bloggers wanting access to information should feel free to contact me.

Question: What is the timeline for any blogging initiatives from the federal NDP?

Answer: In the coming weeks we will unveil some "blogging tools", including NDP video and banner ads to help interested bloggers enhance their pages.

Interview ends here.....

My Take:

I am glad to hear that the Federal NDP is not looking at developing a blogroll (answer # 3) but you can see where one might get that idea from this part of the President's letter:

The NDP is undertaking the development of a new blog roll that better reflects the views and needs of the New Democrats in the blogosphere
I assume that since that time, sensible heads have prevailed at party office.

Other than that the answers are quite good and I am looking forward to seeing the video components that the party will put together for bloggers. I am also glad to see that they "get" the relationship between the blogging dippers and the NDP.