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Business journalists don’t use blogs as sources for news

Maria Grafström and Karolina Windell of Uppsala University have prepared an interesting paper for the 5th International Conference on Communication and Mass Media, Athens, Greece, today and tomorrow. The paper is called “Blogging and Business Journalism: News Production in Transformation” and tries to explore if and how blogs influence the production of business news.

Apart from interviews with bloggers (for example me) and a content analysis of articles about blogs, the authors also made a quantitative survey among Swedish business journalists (79 responded).

While blogs are indeed used as references in articles in the business press, many of the business journalists are reluctant to use blogs as news sources.

Only 14% agree with the statement “I reference blogs in my work” while 86% disagree (63% disagree strongly). The low figure is partially a result of the fact that most of the business journalists do not perceive blogs as an important element in their everyday work.

Only 25% agree with the statement “I read blogs in my daily work” while 75% disagree (42% disagree strongly).

The authors conclude that one explanation to the relatively scarce use of blogs among business journalists, is the degree of specialization.

“It is likely to assume that more specialized business journalists have greater use of blogs in comparison with non-specialized.”

Another reason could be the fact that there are few blogs specializing in business and economic issues in Sweden. I agree with this assumption although I would think that since Swedish business is highly international, business journalists should find useful information on international business blogs too.

What is probably the most surprising result of the survey is the gap between what journalists think and how they act. 38% agree with the statement “In my work, it is an advantage to know what is discussed in the blogsphere” and only 18% strongly disagree. In other words, more business journalists have a positive attitude to the value of reading blogs, than are actually reading them.

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