Do political blogs influence broadsheet newspapers?

SimonGeneral2 Comments

Fellow blogger and CIPR Diploma student Simon Collister has just completed his diploma dissertation…a moment I look forward to with some anticipation.

He’s looked at how political bloggers in the UK have influenced agenda development in broadsheet newspapers.

In due course Simon’s going to publish the full text of his paper (presumably once it’s been assessed and he’s finished the diploma), but his outline findings make interesting reading.

He notes

..in all the case studies influential, high-traffic blogs – or networks of lower-traffic ones – acted as framing devices around the story, pulling together key information and interpreting/analysing issues. This was reinforced by one journalists who admitted in an interview that he used blogs as sources of “comment” and “insight” for stories..

But this needs to be considered alongside his findings that while there is

theoretical evidence for media agenda-setting by UK political blogs, results from the newsdesk indicate that for the majority, blogs are not a trusted source of news.

So the headline is journalists seem to use blogs as sources but aren’t comfortable with admitting it. But then very few journalists do reveal story sources, so maybe the apparent reluctance to admit blog reading among Simon’s sample reflects on a general reluctance to reveal sources?

Interesting stuff, and worth subscribing to Simon’s feed for when he publishes the full paper.

2 Comments on “Do political blogs influence broadsheet newspapers?”

  1. Simon Collister

    Hi Simon. I’m not sure if I mentioned it in the origianl post but there was a distinction in the interview results between those that were ‘editor’ and those that were ‘correspondents’. The ‘editor’ almost all said they did not trust or even read blogs, while the correspondents read adn used blogs for info gathering. It;s not conclusive but you might infer that the correspondents are more junior, thus younger san more au fait with blogs as a medium. Further research needed. Any generous funding bodies out there?

  2. Simon

    That’s interesting Simon – you could infer the meaning you mention. An alternative view would be that the more senior a correspondent is, the less research they do anyway, so would be less likely to use blogs just as they would be less likely to use any other source?

    I agree there’s probably a generational / age factor in there too.

    Would be interesting to go deeper into this – any PR post-grad students looking for a project?!

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