Free Markets, Free People
There’s a very interesting survey out from the Pew Research Center that looks at the media – both old and new – in just about every way possible. Per Pew, 44% of people now receive some bit of news on line or on their mobile device each day. The revolution in news gathering preferences is being driven by thirty-somethings who came of age during the rise of the internet. Older folks continue to prefer traditional means of gathering news and opinion.
But I found one of their charts on the preferences of regular audiences to be fascinating. Included in the chart was a category for “political blogs”. And, per the chart, they are preferred over such media majors as the Wall Street Journal, New York Times and USA Today for opinion.
That says to me the genre has established itself as I think it should be viewed – blogs are commentaries on the political scene as the blogger views it and that includes his or her ideology and political biases. Bloggers aren’t shy about making known what their ideology and biases are and I think that is actually attractive to readers because they can filter the content as they feel necessary. That’s reinforced by the higher numbers found among those of the talk radio and opinion TV genres. Whereas other more traditional outlets have a tendency to at least pretend some level of objectivity – even in their commentary. I’d suggest, given the numbers, that bit of spin isn’t selling well and that for the most part they’ve been relegated to the hard news portion of the information gathering process. If someone wants to know what happened, they go to more traditional media outlets. If they want to know what to think about it (or to reinforce what they think), they seek out opinions. Blogs, it seems, have very successfully established themselves in the opinion area of that process.
There’s a lot more to digest in the survey, much of it which makes clear the trend toward on-line news gathering isn’t a trend or fad. Traditional media outlets who peruse the results should be able to quickly figure out the Darwinian choice they’re presented – adapt or die. But for political blogs, at least at this point in the media evolution, seem to have found their niche.