I had fun moderating the blogging panel poolside at the W. From right, Sasha Stone of Awards Daily, Kate Coe of Fishbowl LA, Jeff Wells of Hollywood Elsewhere and I all agreed that we are obsessed; speed is of the essence, although, Stone said, one can always throw something up fast and tweak it later.
Stone is a stay-at-home blogger with kids who started Oscarwatch out of her own passion for tracking the Oscars. Now it's a year-round thing with big traffic. She sells ads and has helpers. No one tells her what to do, although the Academy forced her to give up her name. She feels strongly, as do I, that she should stay away from putting promo spin on the blog. So she avoids the PR machine. She wants to remain objective, although she certainly makes clear her own rooting interests, especially close to Oscar night. She scours the news and posts from an Oscar perspective.
Coe is a sharp-witted industry pro who produces for TV. Mediabistro, the journalists' website, pays her by the post to blog, which she happily does, obsessively. (We met through our mutual blogging mentor, the late great Cathy Seipp.) Coe's a local media watcher, like sober-minded Kevin Roderick of LA Observed, her main competition. But she's willing to admit that posts leading off with "Britney Spears" do grab traffic.
Wells has been in and out of entertainment print journalism in NY (where I met him in the late 70s) and LA, and moved over to the online side some years ago, as a paid columnist for several sites, including Kevin Smith's moviepoopshoot.com. Wells started his own site, finally, figured out that the blogging format attracts more readers, and sells ads, especially during Oscar season. He's making a living and averages about 10,000 hits a day. He's built a real community of lively commenters. Wells admits that he can get up in the morning, go to the computer and look up at 3 wondering where the day went. I too described a cone of silence that falls when I really get into the blog zone.
Stone and I agreed that the entertainment blogosphere has gotten over-saturated; you can go from blog to blog reading all the same stuff. That's why, while I understand the need for speed, just throwing stuff up isn't always enough. Sometimes I wait for inspiration to hit, for several things to relate to one another, for a juicy angle that will distinguish my take from all the others.
Wells described his main rival, Movie City News' David Poland, as bossy and self-righteous, someone who likes to tell other people how things should be done. Last night Poland told me he would neither share a panel with Wells, nor even read his blog, because Wells has burned him so many times. As if we didn't know, their relationship has turned rancorous. The LAFF cut us off just as the fur started to fly, because they were losing the light.
[Originally appeared on Variety.com]