Hey kids, this weekend’s Roots Camp was a terrific experience — not only did I get to meet Ha-Hoa Dang and several other regular readers face to face, but I was lucky enough to sit in on a bunch of really fascinating discussions. One of them looked at the benefits of working with local bloggers, a subject that we’ve touched on here a number of times. Some things that both electoral and issue advocacy campaigns can think about:
- The national blogosphere is pretty well matured — there isn’t a whole lot of room left for new political blogs to build an audience. Locally and regionally, though, far fewer people are writing about issues, and new blogs have a much better chance of being able to find a niche.
- Local blogs are often looking for stories with a local/regional angle and may be more receptive to story pitches than national bloggers, who are frequently overwhelmed by email from campaigns and interest groups.
- Local political blogs often have a “water cooler” function — they’re a place where political activists and operatives gather to discuss issues and campaigns. Conversations on their sites can thus have a disproportionate influence on local influentials and opinion leaders. This effect is probably more important before a primary election than in a general, since uncommitted voters probably aren’t reading blogs aimed at political junkies, but blogs can still influence the level of excitement local activists feel as elections loom and hence affect the effort they’ll put into campaigns.
- Local blogs may be a much better route into the media than national ones, since local media outlets are often crying out for news. Particularly since so many local newsrooms have suffered cutbacks, issues promoted in local blogs can make the jump into smaller newspapers and television newscasts, especially if they’re well packaged or involve breaking/investigative stories. And once stories are in a mainstream media outlet, they can be picked up by wire services and spread widely.
More later this week from Roots Camp and from Friday’s related presentation at the Center for American Progress.