Youth reporter Joe Rowley tells us about the G20 Summit and how the blogosphere could help spread the word about it.
What is the G20?
The G20 was established in 1999 and brings together 20 of the most powerful figures from around the world. They study, discuss and review key issues relating to the world’s economy such as business growth, abuse of the financial system and how to deal with financial problems. They then have to come up with and agree on effective ways to improve the economy.
This year the G20 meeting took place in London. Joe Rowley blogged about his experience and how the blogosphere could help people to become more interested in the G20 and other political events. Joe is a youth reporter for the Department For International Development which aims to help countries that are living in poverty….
“If you had asked me three weeks ago to say what I thought it would be like to attend the G20 I would’ve probably described a plush hotel, full of stressed looking diplomats and journalists who are haggling for a story. The reality though was different.
Meeting at 7am at London’s Docklands, what struck me first was how realistic covering the G20 was proving to be. We boarded a bus which took us to the security checkpoint within the police barrier. We were then searched, given our passes and were put on to a second bus which took us to the venue. All journalists have to go through this procedure and I even saw Jon Snow and Faisal Islam from Channel 4 News carrying enormous bags on to one of the buses.
At the ExCel Centre
When we got to the ExCel Centre we were led into the ‘Yellow Zone’ where the full impact of the event hit me. We were around 2,000 print and broadcast journalists from all over the world writing copy, filming interviews or, more frequently at that time in the morning, looking for coffee. Finding our ‘desk’ we set up our laptops and began blogging.
Being a blogger
As bloggers we had to update our blogs with developments, interview anyone that walked past our table and even get interviewed ourselves sometimes.
When the activist Bob Geldof came to visit our desk, it was only a matter of minutes before he was flooded by journalists. I had received a tip-off that he was coming to visit us so I was able to get to the front and ask him a few questions before he was completely swamped.
Bob Geldof’s response to one of my questions about the role of blogging became the issue that defined my experience at the G20. As this was the first event where bloggers were invited, Geldof’s comment that he thought blogging was a fad that would pass led me to question the role it could play in events such as the G20.
I couldn’t help disagreeing with his opinion that, “blogging is best done in the field,” and, “not designed for events such as these where information is so controlled.”
In my opinion, I support blogging because information is only ever one-sided on occasions like these. If the organisers want to make G20 more interesting to the public, they could do far worse than continuing to promote the role of blogging here.
Not everyone was against it though. Sam Graham-Felson, Barack Obama’s campaign blogger, said to me during the event, if it’s used correctly, blogging can make the internet, politics and even government policy accessible to society who may never have taken an interest in these areas before.
It’s unlikely to change the world, but what the G20 has taught me is that blogging can be a powerful tool in making the world more understandable.”