- Blog Bash will not be at CPAC. We will be at the RNC Convention in Cleveland.
- At CPAC, we plan on still doing our invite-only blogger briefings with free lunches.
- The awards are still happening. Bloggers, go nominate your peers here!
- We may do an all-call happy hour on Thursday night at CPAC. Watch our Twitter account, @BlogBash.
There will be no official Blog Bash held at National Harbor this March. Since our inception in 2010, we’ve held a number of Blog Bash events across the country alongside conservative events we were requested to be at or where we knew bloggers or our members would be. However, our annual Blog Bash event has always been the opening day, or Thursday, of the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC).
In our first years, all we were trying to do was show bloggers a good time, give them a free meal, and have friends connect offline once a year. We’re so proud of the work we do.
Back then, many bloggers did blogging as a labor of love—a service to the movement and an exercise of a free press. Since the growth of non-profit and for-profit online media machines, we’ve seen a migration to more paid bloggers. This is a good. Still, many come into town for Blog Bash and then cover CPAC or set aside vacation money from the family jar to visit CPAC so they can meet friends and readers that they’ve recognized online. Blog Bash will always be for that independent blogger, first.
We’ve had an obligation to bloggers and our sponsors as we’ve grown. In addition to hosting Blog Bash on CPAC’s traditional opening evening, National Bloggers Club hosts free lunch blogger briefings each day of CPAC, we help bloggers find discounted rooms and roommates during this expensive endeavor, we’ve fought hard to credential bloggers who get left out of the loop, and we do one-on-one introductions between our sponsors and online influencers.
CPAC will remain a mainstay in the conservative movement and there will be plenty of other independent, offsite parties thrown on Friday and Saturday evening. This year however, in keeping with tradition and after feedback from our sponsors, we want to try something new.
We’re hosting our annual Blog Bash in Cleveland. It will be held near the Republican National Convention, but of course, remains unaffiliated with the Republican National Committee or the 2016 Convention.
We’ve done this before. In 2012, we held both our annual Blog Bash, back when was in D.C., and “Blog Bash at Tampa 2012” where we had a blast. Party conventions offer a whole new set of unique challenges, but we’re ready to tackle them. It helps that the Republican National Committee has been a major sponsor of Blog Bash over the past 3 years.
If you’ve already booked your travel for CPAC with the intention of attending both CPAC and Blog Bash, don’t you fret. We’re going to consult with our sponsors.
The annual blogger awards are still going to be held, virtually through the academy, in February. We’ll allow the traditional time for nominating at the end of this month, vote during February, announce the winners, and mail off the trophies in March. These are costs we’re able to cover due to the fierce loyalty of our sponsors.
On a personal note, I’ve fought for years to keep CPAC non-controversial. I, myself, am no stranger to controversy but CPAC has always been a place where everyone “showed up.” In 2009 and 2010, they saw a huge increase in attendance. Many points to the growth of the blogosphere, Twitter interactions, and both the libertarian and youth influx into the movement. When CPAC moved to the Gaylord at National Harbor, we faced a massive increase in the costs associated with throwing the event. Our sponsors stepped up. The National Bloggers Club has worked alongside of the ACU and CPAC staff each and every year to make sure where there were complaints about media credentialing, they were addressed. We’ve greatly appreciated this unique relationship. Each year, I’ve been a public apologist for CPAC because it is the one place, en masse, conservatives would come and plot together. My life and career would not be what it is without the ACU and CPAC. I’ve focused on the politics while my co-hosts, including co-founder Melissa Clouthier, focused on the blogger experience at Blog Bash. She’s got a big heart. And for that, we were rewarded. The sponsors that come together are unique. They include tech giants, libertarian groups, conservative groups, social conservatives, online magazines, and others pitching a product. Last year, we had Jim Beam! We’ve been the neutral ground for the movement where these organizations aren’t competing for clicks or donors, but giving bloggers what they deserve: a drink and ‘a job well done.’
I am proud of the conservative movement and the blogosphere. Times are changing and so will we.