Request for help

by Henry Farrell on September 24, 2003

“Dan Drezner”: and I are co-writing an academic paper on blogging and politics – if you’re a journalist, columnist, commentator, producer, or editor for a newspaper, magazine, or television station, we’d appreciate your help. We’d be grateful if you could take two minutes to send an email to with answers to the following five questions:

1) How many blogs do you read a day?

2) Please name the three blogs you read most frequently. [What if you read less than three? Then just name the ones you do read.]

3) Why do you read the blogs you read? In other words, what makes those blogs worth checking out on a regular basis?

4) Have you ever read something on a blog that affected your decision-making on what to air/publish? If the answer is yes, can you give an example?

5) How much influence do you think blogs have on political discourse? A lot, a little, or none at all?

All answers will be kept confidential unless you give us explicit permission to do otherwise in your email. Dan has also posted our “working definition”: of what a blog is – comments and suggestions gratefully appreciated.




sq 09.24.03 at 1:18 am

2: fewer. (sorry)


Brad DeLong 09.24.03 at 2:51 am

Are you going to cite Donald Ruskin, Stephen Moore, or Larry Kudlow as informed or neutral sources?

Brad DeLong


Stentor 09.24.03 at 4:22 am

I’m curious as to your strategy for collecting data. I presume this post is not your only method, since that strikes me as seriously unscientific (though perhaps adequate for a pilot study that would help you develop a more sophisticated survey instrument for the real thing, or possibly if the survey portion is only a small fraction of your paper).


Henry 09.24.03 at 4:32 am

Stentor – Indeed, we’re gathering other information besides. This is closer to a pilot study than a comprehensive analysis obviously, and we’ll likely avoid using aggregate results because of the obvious sampling issues. But it still would be nice to have some data on a set of relationships that is the subject of a lot of speculation, but not much proper investigation.


Henry 09.24.03 at 12:39 pm

Note to the interested – an anonymous comment making a gratuitous slur has been deleted.


eszter 09.24.03 at 3:53 pm

I foresee leading popularity for CT in the results.;-)

Will you post more on what this paper is about or is it too soon for that?

I’ve stayed away from exploring blogs as a topic of inquiry in my research partly b/c of the sampling issues.. it’s a tough one! Perhaps you could post on that sometime as well.


bob 09.24.03 at 4:12 pm

Next thing we’ll need a survey to determine which journalism professors are doing surveys about blogs that journalism professors read!


Henry Farrell 09.24.03 at 4:22 pm

Eszter – precisely because of that problem, I suspect that we’ll be steering clear of any forthright aggregate judgements about the popularity of specific blogs with media types. As soon as the paper is fit for human consumption, we’ll be posting it for comment – my best guess is sometime around the end of next month for the first really solid draft. And comments will be welcomed – especially from you!

Bob – thanks for the lead. I suspect that we’re on the verge of an explosion of academic work on blogging …


critic 09.25.03 at 5:29 am

Uh, what possible statistical relevance does this have?

You are self selecting “people that read our blogs” to find out the use of blogs in the media.

It reminds me a little of atrios’ silly “Torture Wolf Blitzer” campaign…


critic 09.25.03 at 5:30 am

Looks like Eszter beat me to it. And a little more diplomatically.


Brian Weatherson 09.25.03 at 7:13 pm

I thought Atrios’s point was that web-generated samples are always awful. At least he always said the point was to get Blitzer to stop taking these polls because of the sampling issues.

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