Friday, January 23, 2009

Blogs and Credibility

The credibility of blogs has increased of late, especially among the politically interested. A new study in Computers in Human Behavior supported this and went further. Here's a line that caught my eye (I removed the cites to aid readability, just trust me that the statements below are supported by scholarly work):

Past studies suggest that while traditional media sites are expected to uphold journalistic standards of fairness and balance such expectations do not extend to blogs. Indeed, supporters of blogs perceive bias, along with insight and analysis, as strengths over traditional media.

This says a lot, and of course it drives to tears the traditional journalists who wear out shoe leather finding stuff out for their stories versus sitting around and blogging about other people's work. What we often don't get in traditional journalism is that last line above, how people see this new (or old, if you're a historian and know your news history) approach as better than the vanilla-he said/she said approach to telling a story.

Blogs engage the reader. Traditional news approaches, sadly, often do not.

As more and more people get their news haphazardly, from bits on TV or from blogs or a snatch off an online site, we're going to see the depth of political knowledge decrease. But -- and this is important and I'll discuss it perhaps this weekend -- people may not know a political fact, but they'll know how to find out a political fact. Especially for young people, I may not know who my U.S. senator is, but I know how to find out.

And that's where we are headed.

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