Josh Hallett wrote an article called Bloggers as Media: Operation Gadget gets Credentialed for the Tour de Georgia which included an email that I sent him where I gave the rationale for covering the race, the approach I used to get a credential, and why covering the Dodge Tour de Georgia seems to have been worth it.
Josh and Frank Steele from TdFblog.com have been corresponding with me regularly since before the Tour de Georgia started. It was clear to me that both of them thought that it was great that I received a press credential. It was also clear that they intended to cover the TdG in some fashion, but that they would do it without official recognition from the organizers.
I decided that it was important for me to do a good job covering the Tour de Georgia, and that had to be obvious to the media relations staff. If I was successful, it could open the door for more bloggers in the future. I thought that would be a good development for the event because it hasn't received the attention that I think it deserves from the mainstream media outside of Georgia.
Over the week I spent in the Media Center, people started calling me "The Blogger". I don't think they meant it in a pejorative sense. They just knew (or heard) that I write for a blog. Several of the writers for mainstream publications were very nice to me, quick to offer help and to answer my questions.
I'm now pretty sure that I wasn't the only credentialed blogger at the Tour de Georgia. Representatives of the site called CoolBicycling.com covered the Tour de Georgia and were recognized for a question in the Lance Armstrong Retirement Press Conference. Looking at their site, it doesn't seem like a pure weblog, but it has the feel of a small scale website run by enthusiasts. A woman named Sammarye Lewis, also known as Velogal was definitely there, blogging and snapping photos. I checked out her photo and I know I saw her at a number of places during the Tour. I'm just not sure if I saw her in the Media Center itself.
I'm pretty confident that I did a good enough job reporting on the Tour de Georgia to be invited back next year. I hope that my work was good enough to impress members of the media relations staff so that they offer credentials to more bloggers next year.
I also want to encourage other bloggers to apply for a credential for the Tour de Georgia even if they cannot attend all of the stages. A number of reporters, photographers, and cameramen from the mainstream media only came to a few stages themselves. Following the entire Tour over six days is a significant commitment.
Thanks for reading the coverage of the 2005 Dodge Tour de Georgia on Operation Gadget. This is probably not the end of the Tour de Georgia story, but it's a convenient time for me to thank you. I'd also like to thank a few people who made it possible for me to bring these articles to you:
- Kathleen Aiello
- Jane Kuykendall
- Bruce Turner
- Frank Steele
- Josh Hallett
- Todd Fryburger
- Chris Nolan
- the people I interviewed for my major articles
- the Tour de Georgia media staff, including:
- Jennifer Vincenzo
- Patty Peoples
- Brian Cooley
- Colin Cooley
- Caren West
- Laura Bellinger
- Shawn Moseley
- Robby Bain
- Courtney Clifford
- members of the media who befriended me, including: