The New York Times reports a study out of Cornell University that used sophisticated algorithms and heavy-duty computers to measure the news cycle. Using iconic quotes and buzz-phrases from the 2008 presidential campaign -- "lipstick on a pig", "I am not President Bush" -- the study found that traditional news sources lead -- and the blogosphere follows. By about two and a half hours.
No surprise here. Despite a few exceptions, such as Talking Points Memo, that tend to prove the rule, most blog posts (ahem) are riffs that rest on the backs of the work of professional journalists. Bloggers, unless they also happen to have day jobs as reporters, rarely have the time, the expertise or the access to break any news of their own.
Which is not to say there isn't a place for blogging in the newscape, but at least for now, this study suggests that bloggers will not be able to fill the void left by the ever-shrinking newsrooms.
The story includes a link to an interactive "memetracker", the tool the scientists created to find their results. Fun, actually. bk