AJR on political blogging

“When political bloggers bay in the blogosphere, do political reporters hear them?”

So begins an essay in the June/July issue of American Journalism Review.

The article explores the relationship between political blogs and “Big Jouralism” that I began examining earlier this spring for WWW2004. It also explores political campaign movements, such as the Dean “Adopt-a-Journalist effort” demonstrated by Wilgoren Watch.

Other blogs featured in the article include The Decembrist and NYT On the Trail as well as the better known InstaPundit, Talking Points Memo, Andrew Sullivan and Daily Kos.

From the article:

“What Weblogs do, both professional and amateur, is they help spread detailed political information all day long,” says Jonathan Dube, managing producer for and publisher of, an American Press Institute site tracking online journalism.

Dube believes amateur blogs have fostered public involvement in politics and enhanced political dialogue. But he cautions, “It’s hard for people to weed through and know what is opinion, what is fact. It may contribute to the spreading of misinformation and to misperceptions and to spin.”

Bloggers and their defenders argue that their medium is ideally suited to fixing errors because corrections can be posted immediately rather than waiting until the next day’s paper.


Walter Shapiro, a political columnist for USA Today and a reader of blogs, says blogs collectively are “definitely having an impact” on political journalism, “but we haven’t figured out what the impact is. About all these trends we get too gushy on the way up, and too dismissive on the way down. And we’re sort of in the middle age on blogs, at least in Andy Warhol terms.” As Warhol showed, all “forms of communication get modified in the marketplace,” Shapiro observes.

By Kathy E. Gill

Digital evangelist, speaker, writer, educator. Transplanted Southerner; teach newbies to ride motorcycles! @kegill

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