Confrontation and cooptation : a brief history of Australian political blogs

Highfield, Tim & Bruns, Axel (2012) Confrontation and cooptation : a brief history of Australian political blogs. Media International Australia incorporating Culture and Policy, pp. 89-98.

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The history of political blogging in Australia does not entirely match the development of blogospheres in other countries. Even at its beginning, blogging was not an entirely alternative endeavour – one of the first news or political blogs was Margo Kingston’s Webdiary, hosted by the Sydney Morning Herald. In the United States, whose political blogosphere has been examined most comprehensively in the literature (see e.g. Adamic & Glance, 2005; Drezner & Farrell, 2008; Shaw & Benkler, 2012; Tremayne, 2007; Wallsten, 2008), blogging had a clear historical trajectory from alternative to mainstream medium. The Australian blogosphere, by contrast, has seen early and continued involvement from representatives of the mainstream media, blogging both for their employers and independently (Garden, 2010). Coupled with the incorporation of blog-like technologies into news websites, as well as with obvious differences in the size of the available talent pool and potential audience for political blogging in Australia, this recognition of blogging by the mainstream media may be one reason why, in political and news discussions at least, Australian bloggers did not bring about their own, local equivalents to the resignations of Dan Rather or Trent Lott in the U.S. –events which were commonly attributed in part to the work of bloggers (Simons, 2007). However, the acceptance of the blogging concept by the mainstream media has been accompanied by a comparative lack of acceptance towards individual bloggers. Analyses and commentary published by bloggers have been attacked by journalists, creating an at times antagonistic relationship between the mainstream media and bloggers (Flew & Wilson, 2010; Young, 2011).

In this article, we examine the historical development of blogging in Australia, focussing primarily on political and news blogs. In particular, we review who the bloggers are and how the connections between different blogs and other titles have changed over the past decade. The paper tracks the evolution of individual and group blogs, independent and mainstream media-hosted opinion sites, and the gradual convergence of these platforms and their associated contributing authors. We conclude by examining the current state of the Australian blogosphere and its likely future development, taking into account the rise of social media, and in particular Twitter, as additional spaces for public commentary.

Impact and interest:

10 citations in Scopus
8 citations in Web of Science®
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ID Code: 51293
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: blogs, self-publishing, mass-media, technology, politics
ISSN: 1329-878X
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > STUDIES IN CREATIVE ARTS AND WRITING (190000) > JOURNALISM AND PROFESSIONAL WRITING (190300) > Journalism Studies (190301)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > LANGUAGES COMMUNICATION AND CULTURE (200000) > COMMUNICATION AND MEDIA STUDIES (200100) > Communication Technology and Digital Media Studies (200102)
Divisions: Past > Research Centres > ARC Centre of Excellence for Creative Industries and Innovation
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Creative Industries Faculty
Past > Schools > Journalism, Media & Communication
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2012 University of Queensland
Deposited On: 02 Jul 2012 22:34
Last Modified: 03 Apr 2013 21:09

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