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"...public opinion deserves to be respected as well as despised" G.W.F. Hegel, 'Philosophy of Right'

political blogging « Previous | |Next »
February 7, 2007

Is political blogging changing, just as its form is becoming accepted in Australia as an supplement and alternative to and critique of the national press? Some bloggers are appearing in a variety of high visibility media locations, including radio programs.

Chris Bowers at MyDD suggests that this is happening in the US. He says:

Since late 2005, I have seen a mounting array of evidence to suggest that political blogosphere traffic has reached a plateau, and that the nature of the political blogosphere is shifting away from a top-down content generation model toward a bottom-up audience generated model.

This may be happening in Australia. I don't know about the traffic. There has been a shift from the initial solo political blogger, such as John Quiggin, to group blogs, such as Club Troppo, Larvatas Prodeo and Catallaxy and the emergence of activist blogging such as Getup. Some of the group blogs have developed a community ethos around a group of commentators, and there is increasing differentiation in terms of commentary, watchdog, and information functions. "Blogging" continues to innovate beyond the original structure of a single blogger sole, mainly punditry oriented, content provider.

If it is increasingly difficult for a single individual to rise to the top anymore in national blogging and the solo-content provider model has reached a limit, then where to next?

Bowers goes on to say that:

In addition to the end of the era of the highly successful solo-blogger, I forecast that this development toward user-generated content will carry two other important ramifications for the political blogosphere. First, the already extreme gap between the political engagement of netroots activists and rank-and-file voters will grow even wider. With more people not just consuming political information online, but helping to generate it, netroots activists will continue to consolidate as a sort of "elite influential" subset within the American political system. Second, in order to remain successful, more than more political blogs will transform into full-blown professional operations that can be considered institutions unto themselves. In addition to community development, they will more frequently produce difficult, original work (beat reporting, investigative journalism, professional lobbying, national activist campaigns, original video, commissioned polls, mass email lists, etc.) that until now have been mainly the province of long-established news and political organizations. Competition from other high-end blogs will continue to raise the bar in this area, as the days of thriving on punditry alone are further confined to diaries and comments off the front-page.

I'm at a loss to see how you would finance the profesionalism required for blogs to become institutions in themselves by developing into independent news media? The costs of entry are increasing as the media market becomes more competitive. Blogging used to be a low cost means of democratizing political content generation. It isn't anymore. The work rate is pretty high to produce the content.

One suggestion is to turn local, to blog about the state in which we live, as well as keeping the national focus. This means that public opinion would supplement the media commentary in South Australia, which is pretty poor.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 4:27 AM | | Comments (1)


Quite a few left wing blogs (and a few right wing), including mine ( on the blognow site.