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Blogs and Traditional Media

Old media adds a bit of the new

May 22, 2008

Today, there is hardly a newspaper, magazine or broadcast outlet that does not have a prominent blog destination where reporters, columnists, critics, anchors and other media personalities can supplement their day-to-day output with more informal musings.

Of the many interactive features of the top 100 newspaper and magazine Websites in the US, reporter blogs rank near the top, as do comments on blogs, according to a study by the The Bivings Group. A full 95% of the top 100 US newspapers now offer reporter blogs (up from 80% in 2006), while 58% of the top 100 magazines provide this service.

A limited-scale Prospero Technologies study from late 2007 found that 78% of US businesses that use social media applications included blogs for their editorial staffs. This was the top-ranked category in the survey, ahead of other popular features like discussion boards, RSS feeds and customer reviews.

Although news stories have broken on blogs—notably the Rathergate scandal, which led to CBS news anchor Dan Rather’s ouster from the network in 2005—reporters use blogs less as a news platform than as a way to connect with their readers and check up on the competition.

In a survey of US journalists by PR Week, PR Newswire and Millward Brown, 57.7% of respondents said they used blogs to measure sentiment, and 51% used them to gauge how their competitors were covering stories. Fewer journalists—less than 30% of respondents—used blogs as a mechanism to dig up sources.

Ways that US Journalists Use Blogs, January 2008 (% of respondents)

Other research confirms the relative lack of importance of blogs as a hard-news medium. A survey conducted by Synovate for the Marin Association of REALTORS found that only 3.9% of US adult consumers regarded blogs as a news source. This response rate put blogs squarely at the bottom of the list in that study.

News Source Users and Penetration among US Adult Consumers, September 2007 (millions and % of respondents)

Similarly, a 2007 Pew Research Center for the People and the Press survey ranked online news discussion blogs near the bottom of a list of news sources used regularly by US adults. Only conservative commentator Rush Limbaugh’s radio show scored lower than blogs in the Pew survey.

To learn how marketers are using blogs, get your copy of the new eMarketer report, The Blogosphere: A Mass Movement from Grass Roots, today.

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