Scuttlebutt and Speculation Fill a Political Weblog

Weintraub, Daniel
December 2003
Nieman Reports;Winter2003, Vol. 57 Issue 4, p58
The article provides information on the role of a newspaper columnist's blog in the political campaign trail of the 2003 California governor recall elections. A blog is an online journal of usually short, spontaneous items updated frequently as events develop. Many blogs are personal diaries read only by the author's family and close friends. Even the more prominent bloggers are usually nonjournalists who link to printed stories and critique them on their own time. Blogs represent a democratization of journalism, or at least opinion journalism because they allow anybody, just about anywhere to publish themselves and gain readers in relation to their talent, their relevance and ultimately their accuracy, regardless of their credentials. The increased feedback from readers helped improve the column, especially tips and analysis that flowed in as people responded to the blog. There are hazards of reporting the news minute-by-minute as it develops. The recall was a fast-moving story from the start, first with the signature count and then the watch to see which candidates would file to run.


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