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In search of Google groupies

As it turns out the hottest ticket at this year's Editor & Publisher conference in New Orleans is dinner with Google. That's right, the Internet news provider (among other things) that has drawn the ire of most old-media outlets (at least around the water cooler) for aggregating award-winning journalism on its highly trafficked home page without paying a dime for it.

By coincidence, I guess, this came on the same day that Google became the most valuable "media" company, surpassing Time Warner with a market capitalization of $77 billion. One big newspaper contingent got the ball rolling by ditching some old-media colleagues and joining Google for dinner at Bayonha, rated 27 out of 30 by Zagat.

The pack journalism mentality kicked in and others followed suit--or badly wanted to. Some high-power attendees felt dissed because they were invited to cocktails (much-too-sweet Hurricanes, with a Google engraved glass) but not dinner. We tried to calm the tension, joking that their market cap wasn't enticing enough for GOOG (NYT is a mere $4.5 billion).

I hope I didn't commit career suicide; my boss and I passed on the invite and joined a lively California contingent at an up-and-coming hangout in the Garden District. A "to be sure" disclaimer: this blog was created with help from Google search; so let's not get too uppity. Let the good times roll.