One issue I want to address at the Triangle Bloggers Conference 2005 is the place of blogs as local media and in local media. We can start here if you like. Are we up for being We, the Media?
What’s making me think about this more often and, I hope, more deeply in the last few months are a few local media changes: WCHL as was noticed on Orange Politics went from very very local to mostly syndicated national shows after a visit from a consultant. The Herald-Sun‘s purchase by Paxton and today’s firing of what WRAL says is 20% of the Herald-Sun staff including four of the paper’s senior officers (Thanks to Phil Meyer for the alert on that one). Potential changes at the Chapel Hill News.
And nationally Pulitzer may be up for sale. With rumors that McClatchy, owner of the News and Observer and others, may be one of the next on the line.
Phil Meyer’s new book is the Vanishing Newspaper: Saving Journalism in the Information Age. It’s a good read for bloggers and for journalists.
The Pew Center’s Internet and American Life Project just released one of their more or less well-formed studies (one problem: they often use telephone surveys and those surveys have inherent difficulties in that they don’t often reach cell phone only people or people who are not at home much etc) – this one on the state of blogs. The paper is only in PDF format, but is worth a read.
The abstract says:
By the end of 2004 blogs had established themselves as a key part of online culture. Two surveys by the Pew Internet & American Life Project in November established new contours for the blogosphere: 8 million American adults say they have created blogs; blog readership jumped 58% in 2004 and now stands at 27% of internet users; 5% of internet users say they use RSS aggregators or XML readers to get the news and other information delivered from blogs and content-rich Web sites as it is posted online; and 12% of internet users have posted comments or other material on blogs. Still, 62% of internet users do not know what a blog is.
Who are bloggers (according to Pew):
- Men: 57% are male
- Young: 48% are under age 30
- Broadband users: 70% have broadband at home
- Internet veterans: 82% have been online for six years or more
- Relatively well off financially: 42% live in households earning over $50,000
- Well educated: 39% have college or graduate degrees
Growth in blog-readers far outpaced the growth in blogs themselves. “Still, since [Pew's] survey in February, there has been greater-than-average growth in blog readership among women, minorities, those between the ages of 30 and 49, and those with home dialup connection.” There is a nice chart that is difficult to extract from the PDF that shows the reader and blogger trends from July 02 to November 04.