WNBC Discovers Blogs

A funny thing happened at 30 Rock last night.

The Conan O’Brien studio audience seats were filled with about 130 bloggers as local news anchors, correspondents, the news director and other NBC brass stood on the show’s set and soaked up the bloggers’ wisdom and perspective, acknowledged ignorance about the most basic of Web concepts, and encouraged — no, entreated — the bloggers to send every little tip and scooplet and news break they had.

NBC feted the bloggers — everyone from former city parks commissioner Henry Stern and Wall Street Journal “Opinion” editor James Taranto to Red Gallery‘s Brian Van Nieuwenhoven and Sean Risley of My Body Story (who said he makes a living from his body art blog by getting speaking gigs and other assignments) — to a gnoshfest of pastries, sandwiches, cheese, nuts and soda (no liquor — FCC rules, they said), and seemed, in our estimation, surprisingly open to this whole Web 2.0 thing, while acknowledging that while they were the first in New York to reach out to bloggers like this, other cities such as Nashville and San Francisco have already done the same.

There was more than a whiff of skepticism. A lot of the bloggers scoffed at local TV news’ penchant for “if it bleeds it leads” stories about fires and muggings and robberies.

“How many people here have WNBC on your lists” when sending emails about scoops asked Sree Sreenivasan, newly minted tech guru for NBC’s local news shows after jumping from ABC. No one raised a hand. News director Dan Forman asked how many in the room wanted TV local news to go completely off the tube and for the company to spend all those millions putting it on the Web. About half the audience raised their hands. It would have been more, but a significant portion of the attendees were NBC people. Forman also acknowledged complete ignorance of what blogging software is, even as Six Apart founder Anil Dash sort of tried to explain.

Continued below: “MSM doesn’t mean metrosexual male.” Pictures, names, blog links and more quotes.

“The MSM is a dirty word for most bloggers, but here you are in the MSM,” Sree said (then someone explained to weekend anchor David Ushery that it didn’t mean “metrosexual male”). There were probably more visible body piercings than most of the news execs have ever seen in one place. Here’s a list of just some of the bloggers and others in attendance:

Michele Leder, whose footnoted.org — she’s an SEC filings geek and a financial journalist — was named by Time as one of 50 must-reads.

New York Media Information Exchane Group’s William Sobel.

Design blogger, podcaster and designer Debbie Millman, who gushed, gushed about how much she loves our own UnBeige.

NBC investigative reporter Jonathan Dienst. WNBC.com exec editor Adam Shapiro, NBC digital media strategy & marketing EVP & GM Ric Harris. WNBC reporter Andrew Siff, who said he’s glad to read your posts even about cracks in the sidewalk, because they can become actual stories.

Erin Monteiro, who really really wants your tips and blog links, especially if it’s about Paris Hilton — or maybe a crack in the sidewalk. Erin told us that more than a third of bloggers surveyed in the room make no money from their blogs, which means more than 60% DO make bucks (!). And she wants you to “think of WNBC.com first” when you’re trying to get the word out. OK, OK, you can think of Drudge, too.

A Gawker editorial assistant who didn’t say her name but said it’s really cool working there because you don’t actually have to go into work. (UPDATE: We’re told she’s Heather Snodgrass, who also is on fauxy.net.)

The Jets Blog‘s Barry Bassett, who got the local NBC sports weekend anchor, Bruce Beck, sidling up to him.

Robert Guskind of Curbed and Gowanus Lounge.

Celia Lerman of Overheard in New York.

Louise Crawford from Only the Blog Knows Brooklyn, who nicely told us they relied on mediabistro’s health insurance for awhile.

Someone named Reed of Manhattan Offender who writes in French and Portuguese on his blog this morning after giving us the finger there.

Someone from City Rag who got lots of “woo woo” when she spoke up.

Matt Caldecutt of NYConvergence, and a frequent heralder of The Week.

The Photos:

Conan runs for the blogger summit.

Adam Shapiro makes a point in front of Max Weinberg‘s drum set as Erin and Sree look on.

Just some of the food and fun.

Sree smiles for the camera.

Taranto plays the harmonica or something while listening to a question.

On the local news set.

Sean Risley.

Sree posessed by the power of the Conan O’Brien set.