According to a media survey, blogs are now registering as a source of news, with 2% of people turning first to blogs for news of events in Australia, after scoring a ‘*’ last year. But TV (42%) and radio (21%) still dominate, reflecting their superior news gathering and delivery capacities. Slightly more people – 3% – turn to blogs for ‘political background’. I thought blogs might have done better on this question; this is one area in which I think some blogs do quite well.
But blogs have found their niche in providing ‘views and opinions of people like me’, with 7% of people turning first to blogs to have their prejudices reinforced. Talkback radio and ‘newspapers/magazines’ (an annoying blurring of quite different forms of media) also do better on this count than on providing ‘political background’. That this is blogs’ strength is not suprising. With low set-up and running costs, blogs can target niche viewpoints (such as classical liberalism:)) more effectively than media that require large audiences to be economically viable. Overall, though, these figures remind us that blogs have very limited capacity to influence how the public sees the world. Our audience is mostly people who agree with us already.