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Bloggergate: How the CBS
National Guard Story Affected
Coverage of Webloggers
J. Richard Stevens, Ph.D.
International Symposium on Online Journalism
April 9, 2005
Walter Lippmann, 1920
• “The news of the day as it reaches
the newspaper office is an incredible
medley of fact, propaganda, rumor
suspicion, clues, hopes, and fears,
and the task of selecting and
ordering that news is one of the truly
sacred and priestly offices in a
democracy.”
Where do Weblogs fit in?
• Are they amateur participants in the
“priestly duties” of journalism?
• Do they empower the critical
debates that form our democracy or
do they drown them out in the noise
of spectacle?
• CBS Bush National Guard Story
Purpose
• How does the “MSM” respond to
“blogswarms”?
• Analyze short-term impact of the
blogswarm surrounding the CBS
story on New York Times reportage
of blogs.
Research Questions
1. What effect did the CBS guard story
controversy have on the frequency of
New York Times stories mentioning
Weblogging and bloggers?
2. Did the CBS controversy lead the New
York Times to increase the number of
stories about specific blogs or bloggers?
3. Were New York Times stories more or
less likely to define blogs or blogging
terminology in stories after the
controversy than before the controversy?
Research Questions
4. Did the CBS controversy lead the New
York Times to increase their use of blogs
as sources in their stories?
5. Did the CBS controversy cause the New
York Times to publish more blog
addresses in their stories?
6. Did the CBS controversy cause the New
York Times to frame Weblogs as in
conflict with traditional journalism?
Method
• Collected NYTimes stories containing
blog terminology from June 6, 2004
to December 1, 2004.
• Terms = “blog,” “Weblog,” “Web log”
and “blogger”
• 168 stories
• Content Analysis - counting
attributes and frames
• Intercoder reliability= .9617
Effect of blogswarm on
frequency of blog stories
• 54% increase in the number of stories
mentioning blog terminology
• 45% increase in the stories profiling
particular blogs
• 45% increase in the citation of blogs a
source in a story
• 35% increase in the number of stories
containing blog URLs
• 50% increase in the number of stories
containing the conflict frame.
Chart #1: Sample comparison
66
22
2
24
14
6
0
102
32
1
35
19
9
6
0
20
40
60
80
100
120
# stories About
Blogs
Definiton CiteBlogs Addresses Conflict CBS
Variables
# of stories
Pre 9/8
Post 9/8
Chart #2: Number of Blog Stories
4 4 4
7 7
8
4 4
8 8
3
5
6
8 8
10
4
7
10
18
10
9
5
7
0
2
4
6
8
10
12
14
16
18
20
6/16-6/226/23-6/296/30-7/67/7-7/137/14-7/207/21-7/277/28-8/38/4-8/108/11-8/178/18-8/248/25-8/31
9/1-9/79/9-9/159/16-9/229/23-9/299/30-10/610/7-10/1310/14-10/2010/21-10/2710/28-11/311/4-11/1011/11-11/1711/18-11/2411/25-12/1
Week
# of stories
Chart #3: Stories About Blogs
0
2 2 2 2
1
3
0
5
2
1
2 2
4
3 3
0
1
3
10
2
6
3
2
0
2
4
6
8
10
12
6/16-6/226/23-6/296/30-7/67/7-7/137/14-7/207/21-7/277/28-8/38/4-8/108/11-8/178/18-8/248/25-8/31
9/1-9/79/9-9/159/16-9/229/23-9/299/30-10/610/7-10/1310/14-10/2010/21-10/2710/28-11/311/4-11/1011/11-11/1711/18-11/2411/25-12/1
Week
# of Stories
Chart #4: Stories that Cite Blogs as Sources
0 0
1 1 1
2 2
3
5
4
3
2
3 3
5
3
1
2
6
8
5 5 5
2
0
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
6/16-6/226/23-6/296/30-7/67/7-7/137/14-7/207/21-7/277/28-8/38/4-8/108/11-8/178/18-8/248/25-8/31
9/1-9/79/9-9/159/16-9/229/23-9/299/30-10/610/7-10/1310/14-10/2010/21-10/2710/28-11/311/4-11/1011/11-11/1711/18-11/2411/25-12/1
Week
# of Stories
Chart #6: Stories That Cite Blogs/Addresses
0 0
1 1 1
2 2
3
5
4
3
2
3 3
5
3
1
2
6
8
5 5 5
2
0 0
1
0
1 1 1 1
4 4
1
0 0 0
3
1
0
1
3
10
0
2 2
3
0
2
4
6
8
10
12
6/16-6/226/23-6/296/30-7/67/7-7/137/14-7/207/21-7/277/28-8/38/4-8/108/11-8/178/18-8/248/25-8/31
9/1-9/79/9-9/159/16-9/229/23-9/299/30-10/610/7-10/1310/14-10/2010/21-10/2710/28-11/311/4-11/1011/11-11/1711/18-11/2411/25-12/1
Week
# of Stories
CiteBlogs
Addresses
Chart #7: Conflict Frames
0
1
0 0
1 1
2
0
1
0 0 0
3
4
2
0
1
0 0
3
1 1 1
0
0
0.5
1
1.5
2
2.5
3
3.5
4
4.5
6/16-6/226/23-6/296/30-7/67/7-7/137/14-7/207/21-7/277/28-8/38/4-8/108/11-8/178/18-8/248/25-8/31
9/1-9/79/9-9/159/16-9/229/23-9/299/30-10/610/7-10/1310/14-10/2010/21-10/2710/28-11/311/4-11/1011/11-11/1711/18-11/2411/25-12/1
Week
# of Stories
Chart #8: Number of Stories with Conflict Frames/CBS References
0
1
0 0
1 1
2
0
1
0 0 0
3
4
2
0
1
0 0
3
1 1 1
0
3 3
1
0
1
0 0
2
0 0
1
0
0
0.5
1
1.5
2
2.5
3
3.5
4
4.5
6/16-6/226/23-6/296/30-7/67/7-7/137/14-7/207/21-7/277/28-8/38/4-8/108/11-8/178/18-8/248/25-8/31
9/1-9/79/9-9/159/16-9/229/23-9/299/30-10/610/7-10/1310/14-10/2010/21-10/2710/28-11/311/4-11/1011/11-11/1711/18-11/2411/25-12/1
Week
# of Stories
Conflict
CBS
Thoughts and Conclusions
• Relationship developing more
gradually
• Blogs not as powerful as they like to
claim
• Benchmarks for other events

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Stevens

  • 1. Bloggergate: How the CBS National Guard Story Affected Coverage of Webloggers J. Richard Stevens, Ph.D. International Symposium on Online Journalism April 9, 2005
  • 2. Walter Lippmann, 1920 • “The news of the day as it reaches the newspaper office is an incredible medley of fact, propaganda, rumor suspicion, clues, hopes, and fears, and the task of selecting and ordering that news is one of the truly sacred and priestly offices in a democracy.”
  • 3. Where do Weblogs fit in? • Are they amateur participants in the “priestly duties” of journalism? • Do they empower the critical debates that form our democracy or do they drown them out in the noise of spectacle? • CBS Bush National Guard Story
  • 4. Purpose • How does the “MSM” respond to “blogswarms”? • Analyze short-term impact of the blogswarm surrounding the CBS story on New York Times reportage of blogs.
  • 5. Research Questions 1. What effect did the CBS guard story controversy have on the frequency of New York Times stories mentioning Weblogging and bloggers? 2. Did the CBS controversy lead the New York Times to increase the number of stories about specific blogs or bloggers? 3. Were New York Times stories more or less likely to define blogs or blogging terminology in stories after the controversy than before the controversy?
  • 6. Research Questions 4. Did the CBS controversy lead the New York Times to increase their use of blogs as sources in their stories? 5. Did the CBS controversy cause the New York Times to publish more blog addresses in their stories? 6. Did the CBS controversy cause the New York Times to frame Weblogs as in conflict with traditional journalism?
  • 7. Method • Collected NYTimes stories containing blog terminology from June 6, 2004 to December 1, 2004. • Terms = “blog,” “Weblog,” “Web log” and “blogger” • 168 stories • Content Analysis - counting attributes and frames • Intercoder reliability= .9617
  • 8. Effect of blogswarm on frequency of blog stories • 54% increase in the number of stories mentioning blog terminology • 45% increase in the stories profiling particular blogs • 45% increase in the citation of blogs a source in a story • 35% increase in the number of stories containing blog URLs • 50% increase in the number of stories containing the conflict frame.
  • 9. Chart #1: Sample comparison 66 22 2 24 14 6 0 102 32 1 35 19 9 6 0 20 40 60 80 100 120 # stories About Blogs Definiton CiteBlogs Addresses Conflict CBS Variables # of stories Pre 9/8 Post 9/8
  • 10. Chart #2: Number of Blog Stories 4 4 4 7 7 8 4 4 8 8 3 5 6 8 8 10 4 7 10 18 10 9 5 7 0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18 20 6/16-6/226/23-6/296/30-7/67/7-7/137/14-7/207/21-7/277/28-8/38/4-8/108/11-8/178/18-8/248/25-8/31 9/1-9/79/9-9/159/16-9/229/23-9/299/30-10/610/7-10/1310/14-10/2010/21-10/2710/28-11/311/4-11/1011/11-11/1711/18-11/2411/25-12/1 Week # of stories
  • 11. Chart #3: Stories About Blogs 0 2 2 2 2 1 3 0 5 2 1 2 2 4 3 3 0 1 3 10 2 6 3 2 0 2 4 6 8 10 12 6/16-6/226/23-6/296/30-7/67/7-7/137/14-7/207/21-7/277/28-8/38/4-8/108/11-8/178/18-8/248/25-8/31 9/1-9/79/9-9/159/16-9/229/23-9/299/30-10/610/7-10/1310/14-10/2010/21-10/2710/28-11/311/4-11/1011/11-11/1711/18-11/2411/25-12/1 Week # of Stories
  • 12. Chart #4: Stories that Cite Blogs as Sources 0 0 1 1 1 2 2 3 5 4 3 2 3 3 5 3 1 2 6 8 5 5 5 2 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 6/16-6/226/23-6/296/30-7/67/7-7/137/14-7/207/21-7/277/28-8/38/4-8/108/11-8/178/18-8/248/25-8/31 9/1-9/79/9-9/159/16-9/229/23-9/299/30-10/610/7-10/1310/14-10/2010/21-10/2710/28-11/311/4-11/1011/11-11/1711/18-11/2411/25-12/1 Week # of Stories
  • 13. Chart #6: Stories That Cite Blogs/Addresses 0 0 1 1 1 2 2 3 5 4 3 2 3 3 5 3 1 2 6 8 5 5 5 2 0 0 1 0 1 1 1 1 4 4 1 0 0 0 3 1 0 1 3 10 0 2 2 3 0 2 4 6 8 10 12 6/16-6/226/23-6/296/30-7/67/7-7/137/14-7/207/21-7/277/28-8/38/4-8/108/11-8/178/18-8/248/25-8/31 9/1-9/79/9-9/159/16-9/229/23-9/299/30-10/610/7-10/1310/14-10/2010/21-10/2710/28-11/311/4-11/1011/11-11/1711/18-11/2411/25-12/1 Week # of Stories CiteBlogs Addresses
  • 14. Chart #7: Conflict Frames 0 1 0 0 1 1 2 0 1 0 0 0 3 4 2 0 1 0 0 3 1 1 1 0 0 0.5 1 1.5 2 2.5 3 3.5 4 4.5 6/16-6/226/23-6/296/30-7/67/7-7/137/14-7/207/21-7/277/28-8/38/4-8/108/11-8/178/18-8/248/25-8/31 9/1-9/79/9-9/159/16-9/229/23-9/299/30-10/610/7-10/1310/14-10/2010/21-10/2710/28-11/311/4-11/1011/11-11/1711/18-11/2411/25-12/1 Week # of Stories
  • 15. Chart #8: Number of Stories with Conflict Frames/CBS References 0 1 0 0 1 1 2 0 1 0 0 0 3 4 2 0 1 0 0 3 1 1 1 0 3 3 1 0 1 0 0 2 0 0 1 0 0 0.5 1 1.5 2 2.5 3 3.5 4 4.5 6/16-6/226/23-6/296/30-7/67/7-7/137/14-7/207/21-7/277/28-8/38/4-8/108/11-8/178/18-8/248/25-8/31 9/1-9/79/9-9/159/16-9/229/23-9/299/30-10/610/7-10/1310/14-10/2010/21-10/2710/28-11/311/4-11/1011/11-11/1711/18-11/2411/25-12/1 Week # of Stories Conflict CBS
  • 16. Thoughts and Conclusions • Relationship developing more gradually • Blogs not as powerful as they like to claim • Benchmarks for other events

Editor's Notes

  1. s
  2. Walter Lippmann “Liberty and the News”
  3. But how have things changed? Technological Revolution. Introduction of Web And Weblogging. But how has the traditional media establishment treated Weblogs? Some say amateur journalists, participants in the knowledge distribution necessary for the function of democracy. Others belittle bloggers as overactive busybodies who detract and distract. Never was this question more salient than during the scandal surrounding the CBS coverage of President Bush’s military service. This study is an inquiry into the effects of that controversy on the professional media relationship with the blogging community.
  4. Why NYT? It and CBS were specific targets of blogging community.
  5. 128 stories containing the term “blog,” 59 stories containing the term “blogger,” 57 stories containing the term “Web log” and 18 stories containing the term “Weblog.” The total number of stories initially collected was 263. The sample was then sifted to remove the non-editorial pieces from it. Letters to the editor, staff lists, story budget lists, lists of contributors and news digests were all removed from the analysis sample. Finally, the overlapping duplicate articles were removed, resulting in the sample of 168 stories.
  6. First glance, aggregate.
  7. Visual display of data Terminology question (#3) irrelevant However …
  8. Weekly comparison shows election much greater factor, not blogswarm
  9. Blogs profiled around election, not because of swarm
  10. Same
  11. Addresses and profiles show correlation
  12. At first glance, more conflict. But …
  13. Correlates to CBS reportage
  14. Also, terminology. “Web log, Weblog, blog, blogger” also “Weblogging, Weblogger, blogging”