Bloggers rally to cover Iraq elections

Newly formed Pajamas Media to offer round-the-clock reporting on voting for war-laden country's new parliament.

A blogging start-up focused on news reporting will get its first real workout with its bid to provide real-time coverage of Thursday's parliamentary elections in Iraq.

Pajamas Media, which debuted this fall, said Wednesday that it will have bloggers and reporters in eight Iraqi provinces, including Mosul and Najaf. The online venture plans to offer around-the-clock coverage, with photos and videos to accompany stories.

The bloggers will be compensated for their time, Pajamas said. The group also plans to pay for equipment rentals or purchases and to provide translation to English.

In covering the Iraq elections, Pajamas is working with 2-year-old Baghdad-based blog "Iraq the Model."

Blogging in general and groups like Pajamas Media are part of an emerging notion of how best to provide news coverage online, especially of events as they happen. The opportunities for bloggers and "citizen journalists" came into new light during Hurricane Katrina's assault on the Gulf Coast this summer.

The name Pajamas Media is a rebuke to critics who argue that bloggers are just hanging around the house in pajamas.

"Pajamas' coverage of events like this is an evolving model," co-founder Roger Simon said in a statement. "Input about what we're doing right, what we're doing wrong and what we're not doing--that is critical input, and we welcome it."

Blogging in Iraq came to the surface two years ago, when a pseudonymous Iraqi blogger, Salam Pax, provided live coverage of happenings in Baghdad at the start of the American military action there.