National Democratic delegates convene in Denver Monday for their 2008 presidential nominating convention. Republicans follow the next week in St. Paul, Minn.

As you read this column this morning, Sen. Barack Obama is reportedly set to announce his vice-presidential nominee.

Rumors have it that John McCain will announce his running mate next week during the Democratic convention, perhaps taking some media coverage away from Obama for a bit.

The national party conventions used to be a pretty big deal.

I can remember as a child that they were on each night, with the roll call of the states an exciting time — which state's vote would put the leading candidate over the top and how long would the joyous demonstration then last? (Yes, times were very different then.)

And when I and fellow political writer Lee Davidson went to our first national conventions in 1988, I was amazed at how thoroughly local TV stations covered the event. The old Omni Coliseum in Atlanta (now torn down, I'm told) was so packed KUTV reporter Rod Decker left the arena for some reason, and because the fire marshal wasn't letting anyone back in, he was stuck outside when he was supposed to be doing a live interview.

We had hard-wired phones on the arena press bench and called in a number of our stories. As Lee and I leave Saturday for the Democrats' convention we'll have cell phones, laptop computers, digital cameras and wireless cards that plug into our laptops so we can get into the Deseret News' system to write our stories immediately.

There will be gavel-to-gavel live video streaming on the Internet. There will be hundreds of bloggers spewing out convention actions (and many, many rumors). There will be live radio talk shows.

What there won't be is as many local newspaper reporters present nor as much national network TV time as there used to be.

As you probably have heard, TV stations and newspapers are going through hard times. Once advertising cash cows, both entities are having trying times getting ad revenues from their Web operations, and advertisers in print and over the air are going to cheaper Internet alternatives.

No one has found a good model for "selling" news on the Web.

But your intrepid Deseret News political writers will be on the scenes — Lee and I in Denver, reporter Lisa Riley Roche and assistant city editor Josh Loftin in St. Paul.

It is true that political conventions today have lost some of the glamour and suspense of years gone by. And they are mostly used to "preach to the choir" and energize each party's base supporters to donate and get out and work for their presidential nominees.

Good convention speeches are soon forgotten in daily lives crowded with so many other options and diversions.

Still, Democrats are poised to nominate the first African-American for president. This is a historic year. And you may just want to read and view some of the national conventions' actions over the next two weeks.

• The Internet and blogging certainly has changed the way we all can get information. Just how accurate, fair or relevant that information is is another matter altogether.

I offer for your consideration a blog written by a young woman who recently delivered a pizza to the home of Utah Senate Majority Leader Curt Bramble, R-Provo. I am often these days attacked by bloggers, and while I make an effort NOT to read the misinformation about me and my work (just keep on plugging away), I know for a fact how inaccurate and unfair blogs can be.

So I make no claim whatsoever about the truth of the following blog — although I do say the young woman is a fine writer. The blog site is: tinyurl.com/5ghg5r, scroll down to "My run in with the majority leader of the Utah state Senate." I got a good laugh out of it. (Note to Bramble: I'd track the young woman down and give her a nice big tip, you cheapskate.)


Deseret News political editor Bob Bernick Jr. may be reached by e-mail at bbjr@desnews.com