I’m busy writing an academic paper on blogging, wikis and so on, which will form the basis of my presentation at the forthcoming Adelaide Festival of Ideas, and as on past occasions, I’m hoping to enlist the help of readers as unpaid research assistants.
I want to compare blogs (or rather plogs) with the mainstream press alternatives, and I’ve started by comparing Australian political blogs with the alternative provided by the quality press, which I say is generally agreed to comprise four newspapers (Age, Australian, Australian Financial Review, and Sydney Morning Herald) [more over the fold]
My question is whether there is a similarly agreed notion of the quality press, applicable to the United States. I read fairly widely, both Internet and print sources, and the only papers I see mentioned regularly are the NY Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Chicago Tribune and LA Times. Are there others that are similarly taken seriously, or is the whole idea of “quality press” inapplicable given the greater dominance of TV?
<b>Note</b> I imagine most readers will find at least one paper listed above objectionable. I’m going to delete comments bashing particular papers on the grounds of ideological bias, stupid columnists and so on. I’m only interested in whether the paper is taken seriously, either as a source of useful analysis or as a target for criticism.
Rather than attempting the impossible task of assessing the total content contributed by blogs, itâ€™s more useful to look at a restricted field, such as analysis of Australian politics and current affairs. The Australian quality press is generally agreed to comprise four newspapers (Age, Australian, Australian Financial Review, and Sydney Morning Herald) each of which has a daily edition including one or two editorials and three or four opinion columns. The total output of comment and analysis (not counting feature articles) is therefore around 40 articles per week, or about 30 000 words.
Although itâ€™s hard to identify the corresponding set of blogs exactly, there are at least twenty Australian bloggers who maintain an average standard comparable to that of the opinion pages in the quality dailies. This subjective assessment may be supported by the observation that a number of these bloggers are, in fact, regular or occasional contributors of opinion pieces to the quality press. On average, each would post three or four substantial pieces (300 to 500 words) per week, implying an output comparable to that of the quality press.