Oddly enough, it's Joe Paterno that has the definitive word on the James Beard Foundation's autoliveblog, opining:
"It's impossible to tell the difference between a good blogger and a bad blogger," he said. "The media has to figure out a way to teach students about the impact of blogging on legitimate journalism."
OK, actually Joe Pa was talking about how he is "amazed at the way information appears on the Internet, where searchers can read his biography, research his teams' statistics... It worries him, because anonymous bloggers can post whatever they want. More than once, he said, he has had to respond to a reporter's question concerning something inaccurate that was written about him online."
Except for Powell getting peckish, all the entries I managed to read were upbeat, bordering on giddy, and made even Ed Levine's two thumbs 85 degrees up account seem sort of grumpy.
So, long story short, well played, James Beard Foundation. As an organization with its picture in the dictionary next to the word "embattled," you recognized that the center of gravity in the world of food writing is moving from the fishwraps to the interwebs, and so you invited some folks with iPhones to the party, and got them to say nice things. That's some good PR for the price of a few laminates. However, even Joe Pa could tell you that this has as much to do with "liveblogging" as Robin Leach has to do with Jacob Riis. In every other case I can recall, like this one from last night, there is some sort of critical distance, or perspective, that differentiates the liveblog of the event from, say, the broadcast of the event. The Oscars are a useful example. The Beard folks, however, skipped the broadcast and relied on its cadre of bloggers for the hype. It's a clever move, but it is press releases written on the fly, rather than liveblogging. While Joe Pa is concerned about the "impact of blogging on legitimate journalism," he might want to consider the impact of public relations on legitimate blogging. (Fin tip to Orson.)