About a year ago I responded to a series of questions about blogging from Bryan Murley and Kim Smith, a pair of doctoral students at the University of South Carolina. A few days ago I received the final version of the paper they wrote titled "BLOGGERS STRIKE A NERVE: Examining the intersection of blogging and journalism" (PDF), which they also presented at the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication convention in San Antonio. None of the results will be too surprising to bloggers, but you know how much I love statistics....
For instance, on page 5 they write:
In addition to affecting the culture of traditional journalism, bloggers may also be a force to be reckoned with economically. They have caught the attention of the newspaper industry, concerned about curbing a continuing decline in newspaper readership. The industry notes the threat bloggers may pose to that readership. A survey by Associated Press Managing Editors shows that 1 in 5 newspaper readers say they also read blogs (Pitts, 2004). Andy Rhinehart, new media director at the Spartanburg Herald Journal and GoUpstate.com in Spartanburg, S.C., worries that one day there will be more people going to a blog to read news than coming to his newspaper (personal interview, Oct. 10, 2004).
Some blogs already approach traditional news sources in the amount of readership. According to the blog tracker, truthlaidbear.com, the Daily Kos blog gets an average 563,771 visits per day (Bear, 2004). The blog’s daily visitors are beginning to catch up with the March, 2004 daily circulation rate of 688,645 for the New York Times (New York Times, 2004).1
When you see numbers like that, it's hard not to bloggers seriously.