03 April 2007

First DOD Conference Call Set For Tomorrow - Discussions Continue On Embedding In Iraq

As a follow-up to my previous post, I was prompted to call Mr. Jack Holt with the Department of Defense. I did have a conversation with Mr. Holt to further review what opportunities exist in recognizing the blogosphere as a valid force in today’s media.

I found a great ease in my conversation with Mr. Holt. He was accommodating and very generous with him time. He appeared to be a staunch supporter of the blogosphere and recognized our penchant for getting past the "talking-point" questions to reach deeper into an issue.

He has now approved my being embedded in Iraq, be it on this first trip or the next one. Thanks to Mr. Holt's approval, here are the opportunities I will be involved in.

On The Conference Calls

This is quite an exciting opportunity for certain bloggers and I am thrilled and honored to be involved. It is the hope of the DOD to hold these calls on a weekly basis but precise scheduling is still being set. They would like to allow no more than 5 bloggers on each call and
Alex with the GTL and I will be on the call this week. The interview on Wednesday will be with Major General William Caldwell, Multinational Forces in Baghdad. Each representative will be allowed at least one question and one follow up. I'm very much looking forward to it and I will be sharing it all here and at the GTL!

On Being Embedded In Iraq

Mr. Holt hopes to be scheduling several of these embed opportunities for bloggers and the first one is now set for the end of this month. I have completed all the required paperwork that was sent to me and am, in many ways, quite ready to go that soon. But there are a few important items that may not be possible in the relatively brief time left before the first trip. We are coming to the table here very late in the game but we are doing all we possibly can to be a part of that initial trip. As Alex over at GTL has indicated, even with considerable effort, he is not able to rearrange his schedule to allow for this two week embed in Iraq. As I have said, being able to go on the first trip presents similar problems for me - logistically. The decision has to be made almost immediately so I am in the process of seeing if ANY possibility exists for me to make the first trip. If not, we have been assured of a reserved slot for the next trip and Alex and I will both go then.

I could not possibly overstate the enormity of this event - from a social - political standpoint or from a cultural standpoint as it relates to the public perception of "media". There is a measure of validation here that should not escape any of us.

It's a very proud moment for those who do what we do.

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