2009 May 14 Thursday
Left Wing Blogosphere Influences Journalists

Journalists mostly read the left wing of the blogosphere.

According to research by a Brigham Young University political scientist, people who closely follow both political blogs and traditional news media tend to believe the content on blogs is more accurate.

Professor Richard Davis reports this and other blog-related insights in Typing Politics, a new book published by Oxford University Press.

“Blog readers still get most of their news from regular news sources, but they are concerned that they are not getting the whole side of the story there,” Davis said. “They suspect habitual bias in the traditional news content.”

Davis studied daily blog readers from a nationally representative sample and found that just 3 percent got most of their news from blogs. Most readers still got their information from traditional news organizations, despite some bloggers' predictions that they would entirely replace traditional media. Instead blogs have become an echo chamber that extends the shelf life of news stories, Davis said.

Professional journalists and political bloggers have different takes on accuracy in the world of political news, with the former pursuing objectivity and the latter openly peddling their personal opinions.

Yet political bloggers hold an edge with shared readers when it comes to the trust factor.
- 30 percent said blogs are more accurate
- 8 percent said traditional media are more accurate
- 40 percent said they’re about equal
- 21 percent were not sure

Davis also queried more than 200 journalists to learn how they use blog content in their coverage of political news. Most journalists were aware of influential blogs on both sides of the political spectrum, such as Daily Kos and Talking Points on the left and Michelle Malkin and Instapundit on the right. Despite equal awareness, journalists spend more time reading posts in the liberal blogosphere.

For example, more journalists know about Michelle Malkin than Talking Points. Yet twice as many journalists actually read Talking Points than read Michelle Malkin.

“When journalists take story ideas from blogs, those ideas naturally will come from blogs they read,” Davis said. “These reading patterns suggest journalists may be getting primarily one view of the blogosphere.”

In the near future, Davis expects continued coexistence of traditional media and blogs under the mutually beneficial arrangement where the former produces the news, and the latter provides commentary.

I'm surprised the ratio of reading TPM and Michelle Malkin is only 2 to 1. That's more time reading the Right than I'd expect from journalists. I wonder how many journalists read the more insightful right wing bloggers who do more in depth analysis.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2009 May 14 07:18 AM  Media Critique

The Undiscovered Jew said at May 14, 2009 9:02 AM:

I wonder how many journalists read the more insightful right wing bloggers who do more in depth analysis.

Sailer gets the most site hits from DC and NYC:



Stephen said at May 15, 2009 7:08 PM:

There's a distinct difference between the noise/information ratio in right/left blogs. Maybe journalists go to the left blogs and opinion columnists go to the right leaning blogs?

That said, there is the third choice - blogs run by people who are experts in their technical field. Why get some distilled nonsense a week late from a newspaper (or opinion blogger) when I can get the details and analysis from a technical expert blogger?

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