Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Political Blogs More Accurate Than Newspapers, Say Those Who Read Both

Political bloggers hold an edge with shared readers when it comes to the trust factor

Here's a fascinating day-old item from the Brigham Young University news website. The lead paragraphs provide the gist:
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.”
Our gentle readers can check out the full article here:
Political blogs more accurate than newspapers, say those who read both
This isn't exactly earth shaking news to those who regularly read political blogs, of course, although it may put a few old school print media journalists suddenly off their feed. And we'll add that there's something to be said in favor of the media positioning of bloggers, who generally avoid oppressive advertiser and other truth-killing entanglements... and at least make a yeoman's effort, usually without much monetary compensation, to ferret out the truth.

A hat tip to the fine folks at the most excellent KVNU Radio Blog BTW, who first unearthed this most interesting story.

Reader comments are invited, as always.


Curmudgeon said...

While interesting, I'm not sure the story means a great deal. After all, it only reports that those who read political blogs "tend to believe" the blogs are more accurate. This is hardly surprising, since most news blogs have an identifiable political tilt one way or the other. Those disposed to be liberal in politics who read liberal blogs will naturally tend to believe a site that reflects their own views is "more accurate" than one that does not, or than one that does so much less often. Same thing with those who frequent conservative blogs.

Just as there is a tendency out there [not entirely unknown at WCF] for people to treat newspapers, which are in most cases, because they are not as overtly partisan as political blogs, more likely to print articles and op-eds reflecting ideas other than their own, as "less accurate" or "more biased."

That trend... for people to watch news channels and read blogs that reflect their own views and predispositions... is probably not a healthy one for the future of the republic.

Still, it is now undeniable, or should be, that blogs have become players in news, and often major players and a part of "the media" [particularly in re: political affairs]. However much that annoys traditional print media folk, that's a fact, Jack.

And blogs and similar on line sources are likely to continue to play a growing role. For example, there is an outfit [in California I think] that arranges for investigative reporting to be done by subscription [now that so many papers no longer have the reporting staff to support investigative reporting, which is very labor intensive... aka expensive]. Works like this: people suggest issues they want investigated and written up. The site manager negotiates with a free lance [meaning usually "now unemployed" reporter] and sets a price for him to research and write the piece. When enough people pledge money on line to pay the reporter, he's hired and the article or articles get done, and placed sometimes in traditional media, sometimes on line. Interesting idea. Whether it has legs or not remains to be seen. [There's some arrangement for the subscribers say on who gets hired, but I don't recall exactly how that works.]

daps said...

Brigham Young University tends to believe the Book of Mormon is true.

Bullet Sponge said...

Newspapers are jacks of all trades and masters of none. Political blogs tend to focus on a more specific area of interest and with more passion. Although this can often lead to a biased view, it also tends to unearth more information the papers miss or gloss over. You certainly need to read any P-Blog with an open mind and discerning eye, but I think the general impression is they are more "down in the trenches" with what is really going on and not simply covering one of many many stories they aren't invested in personally.

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