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Kennedyseat.com is solely devoted to the Senate race and is run by someone who says he's a political junkie mourning the loss of Sen. Ted Kennedy. The author says he prefers to remain anonymous because he has a day job that is non-political. WBUR knows who he is, but more on that later.
First, the blog. It has some original reporting, press releases and observations. It’s caught the attention of long-time political junkies such as Michael Goldman. "Kennedyseat has become what I call 'destination media' for people involved in this particular race," Goldman said.
Goldman is a senior political consultant at the Government Insight Group and supports Congressman Michael Capuano’s campaign in this race.
"It’s doing something that’s never been done before," he said. "Somebody who we really don’t know about has decided to be an impartial observer — almost like a fan, if you will — at a baseball game from the seats."
Goldman is looking at the Web site everyday to see in one place what’s going on in the other campaigns. That’s how Dave Jacobson, spokesman for Alan Khazei’s campaign, is using it too. He called it "a tremendous resource for our campaign."
Republican Scott Brown said kennedyseat.com is a "helpful source of information." Republican Jack E. Robinson said it's "doing a great job covering all angles of the race." Democratic candidate Stephen Pagliuca has just started running paid advertisements on the site.
According to the site's author, it gets up to 550 visitors a day, which is good for a blog, but not a lot for a news Web site. Coakley campaign spokeswoman Alex Zaroulis said she checks it several times a day.
"To have a Web site and a blog sprout up so quickly and become so watched so quickly is very interesting" in a shortened campaign like this one, she said.
But it's also a concern, according to an aide on one of the Senate campaigns who doesn't want to be named for fear of crossing the influential Web site. The campaigns have to take seriously someone who won’t reveal who they are and whether they're working for a political campaign or organization.
But, "he hasn’t stiffed anyone and his observations have been extraordinarily fair and balanced," said political consultant Michael Goldman, adding, "that’s something that a lot of times people think they don’t necessarily get because obviously operatives are always spinning."
The Web site's author calls himself The Senator. He contacts the campaigns daily and conducted e-mail interviews with each candidate, which he has posted online. To some extent, he's acting like a journalist, so it’s blurring the line between anonymous blogging and journalism with a byline.
But that doesn’t bother journalism professor and media blogger Dan Kennedy. "It is a little unusual to see an anonymous site doing interviews with candidates and things like that," Kennedy said. "It would certainly be a boost in credibility if the person who's doing it would say who he or she is."
So, who is kennedyseat.com? He’s a 29-year-old Democrat who says he’s a political nut. He has been a candidate himself, but never an officeholder and he’s worked on Beacon Hill. He said he’s just trying to call the Senate contest as he sees it.
But even with his close eye on the race, he still hasn’t decided who he’s going to vote for.
This program aired on November 17, 2009.
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