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Thursday, November 04, 2004 

Blogs Setting the Media Agenda?

This time last year, Foreign Policy magazine had an essay on Net Effect [Web Sites That Shaped the World]. The China Blog List made possible by John's self-initiative was mentioned as a starting point to daily life in China. This year again, they have published a piece about how blogs are changing the world. This time, blogs are said to be an emerging force shaping the agenda of journalists and policy makers. Living in China and Wang Jianshuo got mentioned in the report. The more interesting fact, however, is Blog is now a subject of discussion in political science departments. “The Power and Politics of Blogs,” presented at the 2004 American Political Science Association (APSA) and mentioned at the end of the said report is an example.

Also interesting (and rather contestable) is the notion that I hastily wrote recently: blogs have the power in setting mainstream media agenda.
"Increasingly, journalists and pundits take their cues about “what matters” in the world from weblogs. For salient topics in global affairs, the blogosphere functions as a rare combination of distributed expertise, real-time collective response to breaking news, and public-opinion barometer. What’s more, a hierarchical structure has taken shape within the primordial chaos of cyberspace. A few elite blogs have emerged as aggregators of information and analysis, enabling media commentators to extract meaningful analysis and rely on blogs to help them interpret and predict political developments."


"Under specific circumstances—when key weblogs focus on a new or neglected issue—blogs can act as a focal point for the mainstream media and exert formidable agenda-setting power."


"The blogosphere also acts as a barometer for whether a story would or should receive greater coverage by the mainstream media. The more blogs that discuss a particular issue, the more likely that the blogosphere will set the agenda for future news coverage."

And for me, blogs are more like this:
"For the mainstream media—which almost by definition suffer a deficit of specialized, detailed knowledge—blogs can also serve as repositories of expertise. And for readers worldwide, blogs can act as the “man on the street,” supplying unfiltered eyewitness accounts about foreign countries. This facet is an especially valuable service, given the decline in the number of foreign correspondents since the 1990s. Blogs may even provide expert analysis and summaries of foreign-language texts, such as newspaper articles and government studies, that reporters and pundits would not otherwise access or understand."

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