Proposal

Summary

After exploring a handful of primary sources and scholarly articles dealing with the role of new media in the political process, it has become clear to us that there were several emerging themes related to the different roles that new media now plays in the political process. First, some new media platforms like YouTube and grassroots organizations' websites serve as venues for amateur production and outreach to politicians—virtually anyone can express themselves through videos, pictures, or presentations and have it instantly viewed by the public. Then of course, politicians themselves have also taken advantage of the internet and developed their own websites and applications (standalone or similar to existing platforms) to increase their accessibility to the public. Such examples include a politician's individual website or homemade social networking software. Finally, third party products like, blogs, play an important role in the political discourse on the web and have changed the way both politicians and the public approach the political process. Such blogs would include those managed by independent entities or those managed by a politician. The distinction between the second and third category is the concept of who owns the platform. In the second category, the politician would own the platform, whereas the politician utilizes a platform in the third scenario. Within our project, will specifically address the last theme of third party products, specifically blogs, and how they affect the political process.

For our wiki, we will utilize the underlying principles of Wikipedia and focus them on new media and politics. We will start with the overlying concept of new media and politics and describe the three aforementioned themes. Although we will not pursue all of these areas, each will have unedited pages that can be edited by anyone. We will pursue the third theme in depth, of third party products, and most likely narrow our focus on how politicians are utilizing third party applications to reach the public. If we find that we write more than a paragraph on a particular topic, it will be summarized and made into its own page. Again, this optimizes the wiki technology to allow anyone to edit and expand on a topic and utilizes the ability to link information. In general, we will maintain a neutral point of view on our pages just as typical wikis do. However, our overlying "argument" is that new media affects the political process.

In the concept of third party products and its affect on the political process, there seems to be two major subcategories of the role of blogs that we will mention but we will only explore one in depth. The first is the effect of blogs on how involved the public is in politics, which can pertain to getting more information about the candidates and recording candid pictures, videos, and even sound clips for the rest of the world to see that would not otherwise be available and posting this material onto their blogs. For instance, the Trent Lott incident became a national issue only after blogs discussed Lott's statements. As more and more voters, especially younger voters, are turning to the Internet to keep up with campaigns, learn more about their candidates, and hear viewpoints about the issues at hand, blogs are making information more readily available. In essence, as a voter you can either use blogs to become more informed or inform others by providing their own viewpoint on an issue. One should keep in mind that blogs can be biased and can skew the kinds of information that people access. In a study by Adamic and Glance, liberal blogs cited other liberal blogs 1,511 times, and conservatives other conservative blogs 2,110 times. However, liberals referenced conservatives only 247 times, and conservatives cited liberals 312 times. People can easily choose what material to present, which affects what readers learn.

Moreover, the other subcategory is the effect of the blogosphere on candidates and their campaigns—and this is our main interest. There are many examples of politicians not only acknowledging the power of blogs but embracing them as a means of getting their message out. For example, in 2003, Howard Dean's campaign posted 2,910 entries on its “Blog for America” and received 314,121 comments in response. In fact, as a result of one of those comments posted, 115,632 handwritten letters were sent from supporters to eligible voters in the upcoming Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primary showing a clear instance where a politician utilized blogging for its benefits. However, embracing the blogosphere has also spelled disaster for some candidates and others who shunned or ignored the blogs managed to threaten their own credibility. While we will most likely pursue both categories somewhat, we will mainly focus on this area and use the Howard Dean 2004 campaign as a reference. Many topics will point to both his page and cite scholarly articles that studied his campaign in greater detail. As mentioned above, his "Blog for America" was one of the first major blogs that reached the people.

As you can see, we are really going to utilize the wiki resource to investigate this topic further. We will break down the different themes related to new media and politics, but leave room for public participation in the development of the site. The wiki will be available to be edited by anyone and will highlight major areas related to the use of third party applications. We will personally explore this category and focus in on how politicians are utilizing blogs to connect with the public. We hope that by the finished product, our resource will show how new media has affected the political process.

Resources

Resources that have to do with blogs' effect on the political process

Secondary Sources or Scholarly Articles

Stelter, Brian. "Putting Candidates Under the Videoscope." The New York Times.
External source
With the increased presence of video cameras and cell phone cameras, people have found that they have been able to capture candidates in situations that may have otherwise never been mentioned in mass media publications. Many of these videos gain popularity on the Internet.

Conners, Joan. "Meetup, Blogs, and Online Involvement: U.S. Senate Campaign Websites of 2004" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Political Science Association, Marriott Wardman Park, Omni Shoreham, Washington Hilton, Washington, DC, Sep 01, 2005 Online <APPLICATION/PDF>. 2008-03-11
External Source
External source
This paper discusses technological developments within U.S. Senate campaign websites in 2004, the extent to which they were used, and their potential utility. Specifically, linking to Meetup groups, the use of blogs on campaign websites, and specific online elements of interactivity were assessed. While the 2004 presidential election was first noted for many of these resources, this study finds they are making their way into Senate elections, are generally used more by Democratic candidates than Republicans, and the use of some online opportunities correlate with others in political campaigns.

Howard, Philip. "Deep Democracy, Thin Citizenship: The Impact of Digital Media in Political Campaign Strategy." The Annals of the Academy of Political and Social Science. 2005.
External source
Howard examines how digital media has affected political involvement. As the years have passed, more people have used the Internet in order to get more information on politics. However, political campaigns often use database technologies in order to target groups that are particularly susceptible to their campaign messages. These technologies are often used without the expressed consent of the people. In addition, tailoring messages to certain people makes it less likely that people will consume the same texts; the lack of shared text is a problem for public discussion.

Heller, Steven. "Beyond Red, White and Blue." The New York Times.
External source
Discussion of the prior graphical use with political candidates. This would also fit under Professional Third Party Productions.

Heller, Steven. "Ron Paul's Graphics Revolution." The New York Times.
External source
Discussion of the artists building campaign material via the grassroots web.

Presidential Campaigns Show Businesses How to Tap Social Networking and New Media Tactics: Deloitte Anonymous.
PR Newswire. New York: Mar 13, 2008.
External Source
This news article focuses on how new media is affecting the current political race. It compares politicians to brands and explains how now each candidate must market themselves through technologies such as blogs or even facebook in order to protect their own personal image. “Campaign managers are rapidly adopting and adapting to the latest communication techniques” and are now forced assessed threats both on and off-line. Average citizens are getting more involved via blogging and even have the ability to twist campaign messages in undesirable ways if they so choose to. Therefore, these new technologies come with additional risks to the politicians.

Edwards Learns Blogs Can Cut 2 Ways
JOHN M. BRODER. nytimes.com. February 9, 2007
External Source
Covers the role that bloggers are playing in political campaigns on the actual staff of a candidate. Edwards hired two controversial feminist bloggers and chose not get release them in part because of the repercussions he would face from the blogger community

Summary of Findings: Internet's Broader Role in Campaign 2008.
The Pew Research Center for the People and the Press. March 23, 2008.
External Source
The study has found that over the years, an increasing number of Americans rely on the Internet to learn more information about presidential political campaigns. Television's role as being a source of campaign information has remained important, but it is decreasing in popularity, especially among younger people. Social networking sites and online video have played an increasing role in educating people about political campaigns.

"THE POWER AND POLITICS OF BLOGS"
Daniel W. Drezner, Henry Farrell, August 2004
External source
Weblogs occupy an increasingly important place in American politics. Their influence presents a puzzle: given the disparity in resources and organization vis-à-vis other actors, how can a collection of decentralized, nonprofit, contrarian, and discordant websites exercise any influence over political and policy outputs? This paper answers that question by focusing on two important aspects of the “blogosphere”: the distribution of readers across the array of blogs, and the interactions between significant blogs and traditional media outlets. Under specific circumstances – when key weblogs focus on a new or neglected issue – blogs can socially construct an agenda or interpretive frame that acts as a focal point for mainstream media, shaping and constraining the larger political debate. These arguments receive support from a network analysis of blog links, as well as a survey of media professionals about their blog preferences.

The Political J-Blogger
Jane B. Singer
External Source
This study explores how the increasingly popular blog format, as adopted by journalists affiliated with mainstream media outlets, affects long-standing journalistic norms and practice. It focuses on non-partisanship, transparency and the gatekeeping role, using a content analysis of 20 weblogs dealing with politics or civic affairs. Although expressions of opinion are common, most journalists are seeking to remain gatekeepers even in this highly interactive and participatory format. Political j-bloggers use links extensively - but mostly to other mainstream media sites. At least in their early use, journalists are ‘normalizing’ the blog as a component, and in some ways an enhancement, of traditional journalistic norms and practices.

The political blogosphere and the 2004 U.S. election: divided they blog
Lada A. Adamic, Natalie Glance
External Source
In this paper, we study the linking patterns and discussion topics of political bloggers. Our aim is to measure the degree of interaction between liberal and conservative blogs, and to uncover any differences in the structure of the two communities. Specifically, we analyze the posts of 40 "A-list" blogs over the period of two months preceding the U.S. Presidential Election of 2004, to study how often they referred to one another and to quantify the overlap in the topics they discussed, both within the liberal and conservative communities, and also across communities. We also study a single day snapshot of over 1,000 political blogs. This snapshot captures blogrolls (the list of links to other blogs frequently found in sidebars), and presents a more static picture of a broader blogosphere. Most significantly, we find differences in the behavior of liberal and conservative blogs, with conservative blogs linking to each other more frequently and in a denser pattern.

Blogging for Votes: An Examination of the Interaction Between Weblogs and the Electoral Process
External Source
"Weblogs," or "blogs," constitute an emerging online media form whose prominence has grown in recent years. The 2004 US presidential election saw a new focus placed upon blogs as a political tool, which some believed to have the potential to revolutionize political reporting and discourse within the United States. Blogs were involved in political mobilization (including fund-raising activities) during the election cycle, and some blog authors were granted credentialed status at the DNC and RNC political conventions.
This paper explores how best to classify weblogs within the realm of political media. We examine several blogs networks by multiple time series models relating the evolution of structural properties such as density, centralization, and cohesion to changes in national and state level polling data during the last three and a half months leading up to the election. Our analysis tests the hypotheses that weblogs can be seen as either nascent political organizations or as political communication networks. Additionally it emphasizes the importance of studying large-scale networks as open systems, and demonstrates some useful techniques for future studies of network dynamics.

"Googlearchy": How a few heavily-linked sites dominate politics on the web
Matthew Hindmany, Kostas Tsioutsiouliklisz Judy A. Johnsonx2004
External Source
Many political scientists have assumed that the World Wide Web would lower the cost of political information and reduce inequalities of attention for those outside the political mainstream. However, computer scientists have consistently reported that the aggregate structure of the Web is antiegalitarian; it seems to follow a \winners take all" power-law distribution, where a few successful sites receive the bulk of online trac. In an attempt to reconcile these apparently disparate conclusions, this study undertakes a large-scale survey of the political content available online. The study involves iterative crawling away from political sites easily accessible through popular online search tools, and it uses sophisticated automated methods to categorize site content. We nd that, in every category we examine, a tiny handful of Websites dominate. While this may lower the cost of nding at least some high-quality information on a given political topic, it greatly limits the impact of the vast majority of political Websites.

Blog!: how the newest media revolution is changing politics, business, and culture
D Kline, D Burstein - 2005 - CDS Books
Google books page
examine the notion that weblogs, or "blogs," are redefining journalism and media consumption and conclude that, while blogging may not signal the death of big media, it has measurably impacted everything from political campaigns-as evidenced by Howard Dean's presidential bid-to the life of former child star Wil Wheaton, who found his "second act" in a tell-all blog about the humiliations of show business. Soliciting the thoughts of well-known bloggers, such as Andrew Sullivan and Jeff Jarvis, the authors create a venerable blogosphere bible that navigates and interprets the cyber-verbosity informing the way journalists do their jobs, from fact finding to steering coverage. Using specific examples of blogger power, such as the release of an Iranian dissident from prison, and employing Q&A interviews with movers and shakers like Microsoft's Robert Scoble to discuss blogs' current and future marketplace utility, the authors offer a lot to consider about our information-saturated culture and what cream might rise to the top of it.

Blog offensive: An exploratory analysis of attacks published on campaign blog posts from a political public relations perspective
Kaye D. Trammell
External Source
An advancement in online campaigning during the 2004 election cycle was the integration of blogs in candidate Web sites. This content analysis investigated the political public relations message strategy on campaign blogs during the 2004 election, focusing on attacks as a part of Functional Theory of Political Campaign Discourse. Results indicated frequent discussion of the opponent, reliance on attacks, and the dominance of logical appeals. Candidates focused on issue over image. The incumbent attacked more often than the challenger.

Blog for America and Civic Involvement
Matthew R. Kerbel, Joel David Bloom
External Source
Web logs (blogs) were an integral component of the 2004 presidential campaign and are a new medium for civic engagement. Arguably, the most important campaign blog was Blog for America, which served as a nerve center for Governor Howard Dean's insurgent presidential campaign. The authors offer an initial assessment of the community that developed around Blog for America and its orientation toward civic engagement, based on an original content analysis of 3,066 unique posts encompassing every entry in the Dean blog from March 15, 2003, through January 27, 2004. The guiding hypothesis is that blog discussion centered on a set of system-affirming topics absent from or unusual in political coverage on television,particularly substantive policy debate and community action.The authors find Blog for America to be an example of how the Internet is emerging as a vehicle for enhanced civic involvement with the potential to counteract the negative effects of television on the political process.

Political Blogs and the Bloggers Who Blog Them: Is the Political Blogosphere and Echo Chamber?
Kevin Wallsten
External source
Most studies of political blogging have focused exclusively on the so-called “A-list” political blogs. While these studies have provided important insights into the content of A-list political blogs (Adamic and Glance, 2005), how A-list political blogs influence media coverage (Drezner and Farrell, 2004) and who A-list political bloggers are (McKenna and Pole, 2004), they have largely ignored the thousands of less read political blogs that are written by average citizens every day. As a result, relatively little is known about political blogging “by the rest of us” (Schiano et al., 2004). Perhaps most surprising in this regard is the fact that while there has been much debate over whether political blogging is a form of political participation (McKenna and Pole, 2004), there has been no systematic research into how ordinary people are using blogs as a form of political expression. In this paper, I will address this oversight by using a computer assisted, quantitative content analysis of 25 randomly selected, non-A-list political blogs over the six month period from July to November 2004 in order to determine the relationship between mainstream media coverage and political blog discussion. The results of this study will help shed light on whether the political blogosphere is a merely an “echo chamber” for the messages of political elites as reported in the mainstream media.

WAG THE BLOG: HOW RELIANCE ON TRADITIONAL MEDIA AND THE INTERNET INFLUENCE CREDIBILITY PERCEPTIONS OT WEBLOGS AMONG BLOG USERS
By Thomas J. Johnson and Barbara K. Kaye
External Source
This study surveyed Weblog users online to investigate how credible they viezi' blogs as compared to traditional media as weil as other online sources. This study also explores the degree to which reliance on Weblogs as well as traditional and online media sources predicts credibility of Weblogs after controlling for demographic aud political factors. Weblog users judged blogs as highly credible—more credible thau traditional sources. They did, however, rate traditional sources as moderately credible. Weblog users rated blogs higher on depth of information than they did 0)i fairness.

Wikipedia - Political Blog
External Source
Talks about influence on US politics, and notable American political blogs and bloggers

Sroka. Understanding the Political Influence of Blogs: A Study of the Growing Importance of the Blogosphere in the U.S. Congress. The Graduate School of Political Management The George Washington University. April 2006.
External source
While a very new field of research, most of the academic studies of blogging and politics conducted thus far have looked at the budding relationship through a media-based lens. In these studies, blogs are seen to affect politics only insofar as they are able to refocus the media's attention and re-frame policy debates. While this way of seeing the emergent association between blogs and politics makes a great deal of sense, the blogosphere also seems to be playing an increasingly powerful role in framing ideas and issues for legislators and leaders directly. Using a survey of congressional offices conducted between January and March 2006, I attempt to gain a picture of the readership, usage, and opinion of blogs and blogging on Capital Hill, in order to make the case for blogging’s direct effect on the modern legislative process. I conclude that, although more study is needed to know how blog readership and usage directly impact policy decisions, the high levels of blog readership and the widely held view that blogs function as the "watchdog" of the mainstream media clearly suggest that the blogosphere has a much stronger voice being heard by legislators than previously considered.

Kahn, R. et. al (2004), "New media and internet activism: from the ‘Battle of Seattle’ to blogging", New Media and Society 6 (1), 87-95.
External source
This journal article focuses on how new media has affected activism over the years. It discusses in detail how certain grassroots organizations such as MoveOn and Answer use websites to post anti-war information and organize demonstrations. Activists like these groups, are not only using websites but even blogs and wikis in order to mobilize supporters and spread information about their cause. According to the author, the internet has created new “political possibly” and social relations for activist groups.

Cornfield, Michael. "The Internet and Campaign 2004: A Look Back at the Campaigners." Pew Internet and American Life Project.
External source
The commentary looks at how elements of the Internet, particularly blogs, established new grounds for the 2004 presidential elections.

"Social Networking and Online Videos Take Off: Internet's Broader Role in Campaign 2008." The Pew Research Center for the People and the Press.
External source
The study has found that over the years, an increasing number of Americans rely on the Internet to learn more information about presidential political campaigns. Television's role as being a source of campaign information has remained important, but it is decreasing in popularity, especially among younger people. Social networking sites and online video have played an increasing role in educating people about political campaigns.

"Campaign Stops: Strong Opinions on the 2008 Election." New York Times.
External source
While some of them are simply strong opinions, other have a more neutral scholarly approach to new media in the election.

Harris, John F. "New Media A Weapon in the World of Politics." The Washington Post.
External source
The article notes how certain politicans like Karl Rove have used new media to their advantage in the political sphere. In the past few years, new media has had an integral role in allowing for certain controversies, such as the conflict between John Kerry and the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth in the 2004 presidential race, to surface and gain coverage. Harris claims that Republicans have been able to use new media to their advantage, while Democrats have struggled.

"In Clips on YouTube, Politicians Reveal Their Unscripted Side; Rival Posts 'Gotcha' Videos In Tight Montana Race." Wall Street Journal. (Eastern Edition). New York, N.Y.: Oct 9, 2006.
External source
This news article discusses the increasing use of youtube to monitor politicians during campaign races and how campaign staffers are even hired to simple follow opposing candidates to try to capture a reputation damaging, “gotcha moment” on video. It mentions how a user submitted embarrassing videos of Montana Senator, Conrad Burns using the racial slur “Macaca” and making inappropriate jokes about political issues. According to the author, Youtube gives citizens more opportunities to get to know their candidates and puts the candidate under the scrutiny of the public eye basically 24/7.

Quaid, Libby. "Meghan McCain Has Offbeat Campaign Blog." March 27, 2008.
External source
McCain's daughter, through her new blog, offers an insider's view of the campaign that is offbeat and sometimes surprisingly intimate. While the Web site is about a campaign, it is not about issues and rarely mentions other candidates. Rather, it is intended to make her parents, and politics, seem more real.

Stelter, Brian. "Finding Political News Online, the Young Pass It On." The New York Times.
External source
The article notes that younger people are increasingly relying on online sources to get news about politics and the election. Younger people also tend to use the Internet to send political information to their friends.

Primary Sources

detnews.com politics blog
The Detnews.com Politics blog is a blend of Detroit News staffers and selected voices from the public. Spartans Blog the Campaign: Michigan State students blog the campaign for The Detroit News with posts and videos featuring their unique perspectives as first-time voters.

Etalkinghead's Political Blog
has listings for over 500 political blogs in categories like news, religious, liberal, conservative, independent, libertarian, moderate, humor.

The Fix: washingtonpost.com's Politics blog

The Daily Kos: State of the Nation
A liberal political blog with a large and dedicated following

The Caucus - NYTimes Political Blog

Real Clear Politics Blog - by Time and CNN

BlogFlux Politics Blogs
Has directory of political blogs

Politics Blog - Columbia Daily Tribune

SFGate Politics Blog

Political Intelligence - Boston.com
Field reports from Boston Globe reporters and editors covering the 2008 presidential campaign and the national maneuvering of Bay State politicians.

Latest Politics Blog - The New York Sun

BlogCatalog - Political Blogs
BlogCatalog features 4,292 Political blogs for you to browse

Meghan McCain's blog

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