Rob Bluey: Blogging war

on columnist Rob Bluey has his a new piece on the radical changes the internet, blogging, and YouTube is bringing to war news coverage. You can read the full article and reader’s comments right here.

After four years in Iraq, the U.S. military has redefined how it communicates in a war zone. From action-packed videos on YouTube to blogger conference calls with key commanders, the military is providing more access to what’s going on in Iraq than during any other war before it.

He writes about the growing number of bloggers who are putting themselves in danger’s way to get a first-hand look at the situation in Iraq. He also mentions my favorite independent journalist covering the war in Iraq, Michael Yon.

Some bloggers can’t seem to stay away. One of them is Michael Yon, a Special Forces veteran who went to Iraq in December 2004 as a writer who knew little about blogging. Yon embedded with a British unit after being shunned by the Pentagon. At first, he avoided the blogger label. But as blogging became more accepted, so too did his work.

But like Bluey points out, its not just about getting bloggers on the ground in Iraq.

These days, the Pentagon hosts a weekly conference call for bloggers that has recently featured Army Maj. Gen. William Caldwell, Command Sgt. Maj. Jeffrey J. Mellinger and Ambassador Daniel Speckhard. All of the calls are recorded and posted online — making the military’s interaction with bloggers completely transparent and accessible to anyone who wants to listen.

Earlier this week, a friend who works on the Missile Defense System pointed me to a new press release on the successful Missile Defense Intercept test that took place off the coast of Hawaii. The cool thing is that I discovered an FTP address at the end of the document that pointed to where I could find actual video footage of the test launch! I posted the video on my political blog and the full press release text. It was then featured on the home page for a day or so.

The point: its a whole new world when it comes to communication, and information distribution. America is a hungry media-consumer, and organizations that want to get their stories out have to take a more direct approach. Any of the lessons the Pentagon has had to learn are easily applicable to any corporate crisis-management.

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