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JOHN YDSTIE, host:

The perjury trial of former White House aide Lewis Libby gets under way in Washington this week. And for the first time in a federal court, the press room will have some seats for bloggers. Two places will go to members the Media Bloggers Association. The group represents about a thousand online writers and it's trying to bring some of the powers of the press to the blogisphere.

Robert Cox is president of the association, and he negotiated the deal with the court. He says a lot of different people will sit in the bloggers' seats.

Mr. ROBERT COX (President, Media Bloggers Association): The goal was to have 12 to 18 bloggers covering a four to six week trial. We have folks who are from the left to center and from the right of center politically. We have large bloggers, small bloggers. We have folks from inside and outside the beltway. So I really tried to get a variety of different types of bloggers and we do.

YDSTIE: In what ways do you think bloggers will cover this trial differently than the traditional media?

Mr. COX: Well, probably a few things. First of all, our bloggers aren't going down there as pool reporters or writing wire service copy, for example. So you know, they may bring some personal views into what they're seeing the courtroom, be more explicit that, so - yeah, you'll definitely see more opinion in what's getting put out. We're going to try to make it a point on a daily basis to be doing sort of a round-up of links to other blog posts, people who aren't there commenting about the case, also commenting on the traditional media. So really trying to give a very broad set of views through linking and commentary to lots of different perspectives about what's going with the trial.

YDSTIE: Your group, the Media Bloggers Association, has been working to develop standards and practices for blogging, tell us a little bit more about that.

Mr. COX: The idea is that if our members are willing to adopt editorial policies, operate within some sort of ethical or legal framework, have full transparency were they're disclosing who they are, providing content information, and work within the framework of our organization, there's a level of accountability that makes institutions in this country more willing to work with bloggers because that's been a big criticism of bloggers, is exactly those issues.

Our efforts have been really listening to people, like in the courts, other parts of the government, talking to a lot people within the world of journalism, and looking for ways that we could address those concerns. And it's not really to sort of badger the bloggers into behaving like journalists. It's more to say, for those of you who are interested to do these things, doors will become open through the Media Bloggers Association for you.

YDSTIE: Robert Cox is the president of the Media Bloggers Association, and he writes a blog at the association's Web site called Words in Edgewise. Thanks very much for joining us.

Mr. COX: Thank you. Thank you for having me.

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