This piece was in yesterday’s Crikey email.
Are Australia’s political blogs there yet? “Are we there yet?” is a question you often hear asked at seminars on new media these days. It refers to blogs. Nobody is really sure where âthereâ? is, but the question is generally understood to be whether or not blogs have a real impact â whether they can influence public opinion, and whether, as they have in the United States, they can affect election results. Usually the answer is something like “no, but weâre getting there.” And today the left-leaning Larvatus Prodeo, which claims to be the countryâs best read political blog, has released statistics which suggest that might be true. LP claims to have had 31,612 unique visitors in October â showing steady growth from January, when it was just 17,148. The increases have probably been driven by Mark Bahnischâs blogging on the Queensland election, (his best stats were in August, with over 32,000 unique visitors) some of which was also run on Crikey and other sites. He is now putting a consistent effort into recruiting bloggers for the Victorian state election. To put this in perspective, the monthly figures mean that LP is comparable with most small politically inclined magazines. The Monthly, for example, is generally thought to sell about 16,000. The Bulletin claims around 80,000. Of course there is probably more than one reader for each issue of a hard copy publication. And it is doubtful whether LPâs readers are swinging voters. Nevertheless, at its best (which is not every day) LP runs perspectives and analysis as good as you find on the op ed pages, and on a wider range of issues than they can cater for. Its figures suggest that “getting there” is about right. — Margaret Simons
I’ve asked for a correction to “one of the best read blogs” as I’m aware that Tim Blair’s readership is higher than ours. But I’m really pleased with the growth we’ve enjoyed over the year.