Thursday, October 23, 2008

Naples Press Club-Forum on Blogging for Storytellers and Journalists

From the Naples Daily News, September 26,2008:
Naples Press Club to present panel discussion on Internet blogging.

"What is a blog? The Naples Press Club presents a panel discussion: "Internet Blogging for Storytellers and Journalists," moderated by Naples Daily News Editor Phil Lewis, from 6 to 7 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 23, at the Norris Center, 755 8th Ave. S., Naples.Panelists include bloggers [thingfish23/Ed E. O'Path], a photographer for the Collier County Medical Examiner's Office, who blogs about environmental issues in Golden Gate Estates; Ivan Seligman, a critic on Gulfshore Life’s blog, Hot Dish; Sandy Lender, editor and sci-fi author, whose blog offers writing tips and promotes her books; and Elizabeth Kellar, a freelance journalist and program director for the Naples Press Club, who maintains a travel, news and entertainment blog.Cost for the forum is $5. The discussion will be followed by a reception at Vergina On Fifth Avenue, 700 Fifth Ave. S."

Well, it's come and gone in a flash-here's the scoop!
Tonight I was on the panel with three prominent bloggers, facing the audience of Naples Press Club members and others. It was fun, meeting fellow panelists Liz Kellar, Sandy Lender and Brian Womble. Yes, a mere quartet of bloggers facing a sea of seasoned journalists; a curious crowd shy of 100 folks. The audience included Editor Harriet Heithaus and freelancer Suzy Dorr from the Naples Daily News, Naples Press Club officers Sandra Yeyati, Philip Jason, Carla Meekins and Susan G. Smith, N Magazine's Heather Ray and Sarina Buonannata, and an international travel writer. Heady stuff! Liz invited me to be a panelist months before, and, after I fell off the back of the turnip truck in surprise, I dusted off and said "I'd be right pleased to be there!" It's an art to have people with such differences in personal styles, blog subjects, and points of view, together, and weave a positive sharing and learning experience for all.

Phil Lewis's moderation did just that. He brought out pertinent general aspects of blogging, such as starting a blog, picking topics, blogging frequency, and gauging actual readership with statistics-counters. Mr. Lewis then elicited the finer points of each blogger's approach, such as how to market one's self/blog, by eliciting published fantasy author Sandy Lender tips on marketing her book and establishing/maintaining a network of thousands of writers and other bloggers. Brian Womble's blog rambles from amazing photos and speciation of unusual critters, to exposing his quivering family to the twin terrors of leaping body- slamming sturgeons and snapping alligators while canoeing tortuous waters, interspersed with desultory political philippics. Liz Kellar daily winnows down multiple news sources, and presents a quite helpful and representative top five Lee and Collier county events on Thegulfgirl Blog.

The effects of a blog are variable. One restauranteur later told me that my favorable blog review, coupled with my word of mouth enthusiasm, brought in enough customers to keep her beginning business afloat. Alternatively, other favorably reviewed spots did not notice any uptick in business. On a national and especially a political level, a blog may start a rumor, like a forest fire, hard to quench, if there's not a balancing viewpoint. Go figure.

After Q and A, a crowd descended on Vergina's on 5th Ave S., whose kind hosting of hors d'oeuvres, with live music, singing and dancing in an elegant ambiance was a welcome background for further talk.

Vergina's Tortellini and Tasty Bruschetta
It was a unique chance to talk on topics from Brazilian salpicon variations to vacuum packing home cooking for freezing. Bill Turner had 55 years in broadcasting, and others could put Fred Astaire to shame with their dancin' feet, while carrying on a great conversation. A good time was had by all! Read Liz Kellar's TheGulfGirl at:
Sandy Lender's one (of several) fantasy writing blog at:
and Brian Womble's Due for a Turnover:


Anonymous said...

Hey, Ivan!

Thank you again for coming last night and taking part in the panel. It was so much fun and I know you were a big hit with everyone!

I tell everyone about your blog because I think it's so great and so helpful in finding places to go around town.

Cheers and thanks again,
Liz Kellar

Anonymous said...

Hey, Ivan!
Thank you so much for taking part in the panel last night! It was so much fun.

I tell everyone about your blog. It's such a great place to find out about local restaurants. I'm going to try A Table Apart soon, I hope!

Thanks again and talk to you soon,