According to (our emcee, Loki) Williams, blogging provided a forum for New Orleanians like Army Corps of Engineers watchdog Matt McBride and community activist Karen Gadbois to produce heavily researched citizen journalism that belied what was being reported in the national news, but didn't fit, as Williams puts it, "into a two-minute sound bite or a heavily biased Fox newscast." Others, like (Leigh) Checkman and Mark Folse, a New Orleans native who moved back to the city following the flood and wrote about his experience in his blog, Wet Bank Guide, offered a slice of life in the disaster zone.So I added the links myself.
By late 2005, local bloggers were finding each other. An Internet discussion group began, giving bloggers a chance to share tips and news. Someone suggested a conference, and Mark Moseley, aka Oyster, who writes Your Right Hand Thief spearheaded the effort with others, including (Peter) Athas and Maitri Venkat-Ramani (Maitri's Vatul Blog). The inaugural Rising Tide conference was held Aug. 25-27, 2006, the weekend before the storm's first anniversary.
"The Rising Tide Conference will be a gathering for all who wish to learn more and do more to assist New Orleans' recovery in the aftermath of the natural disasters of both Hurricane Katrina and Rita, the manmade disaster of the levee and floodwall collapses, and the incompetence of government on all levels," Folse wrote on the first day of the conference.
Though local bloggers organize these conferences and the central theme is New Orleans' recovery and future, Rising Tide isn't for bloggers only, nor just for locals. Since the first conference, there has been an effort to get the information to a wider audience through live blogging, YouTube and other new media. Williams says he is promoting this year's event via Facebook and Twitter, two popular social media networks. Even if these efforts don't attract more attendees to the actual conference, it will create a permanent online record for anyone to access. Williams does, however, think this year's attendance could be the highest ever.
"This year we have the potential to break through and have a number of people there who wouldn't normally have come, simply because of the name recognition of Harry Shearer," he says.
Big, big thanks to David Winkler-Schmit, who put up with us itinerant mad blogging folk and came up with a great article.
This week's issue also featured our webmaestro Varg and his Leveeland Creations. Check it out.
Keep in mind: the registration fee for Rising Tide goes up to $30 this Thursday, August 20th. Get registered today.
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