The Cyberbrains

Research and contemplation in new media

Politics schmolitics

Jeremy at AEJMCDateline AEJMC convention in D.C. …

I just finished the second of two paper presentations here at the AEJMC convention in Washington, D.C., both of them studies based on citizen journalism research. Both were very productive sessions, I met a lot of people interested in the topic; it seems as if cit-j has a little more traction as a research topic than past years.

One standout theme has been the surprise people express about research about blogging and citizen journalism here in America. Two research projects I’ve been a part of now have shown that politics is not a topic of interest for most citizen reporters, and this squares with the literature that shows that it’s not a major topic for bloggers anyhow (see Rodzvilla’s section in “We’ve got blog: How weblogs are changing our culture” for reference).

I thought this had been demonstrated a couple years ago, but even in sessions now we’re having to correct people by pointing out that blogs are not political. It’s shocking information for some and the level of surprise is, well, surprising. Maybe it’s because the popular media tends to cover political blogs more than other types of blogs, and maybe it’s because the scholarly community is guilty of studying mostly political blogs. But this can have a type of agenda-setting effect that makes us as researchers think blogs are political.

Blogs are mostly “I went to the store today, here’s what a I bought” or “Here are another 372 pictures of my dog.” There’s a wealth of research fodder there if we just open our eyes beyond the political, or maybe if we broaden our definition of what we call political.

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August 10, 2007 - Posted by | Jeremy Littau

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