Most of the punditry about the internet and the general election has focused on the impact of the internet, and social media in particular, on politics. Although journalists often get a mention, the basic frame of reference is "how is politics changing?"
However, there was a hint of a different perspective at the launch at Google UK on Tuesday of Nic Newman’s report for the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism into the impact of the internet on the politics and the media during this year’s general election.
Given the institute’s focus on journalism, the report understandably focuses far more than many other reports on the impact on the media rather than on the impact on politics. In particular, it picks out the success of Andrew Sparrow’s live political blogging for The Guardian during the election. Although the paper had tried out live blogging for political news in various forms previously, it was the election that cemented the approach, developed the technology and saw a considerable audience secured:
"The page received more than 100,000 page views in its early days, rising to 450,000 page views on the day of Bigotgate and 2 million page views and 335,000 unique users in the aftermath of the results themselves. As Sparrow points out, that is more people than buy the Guardian newspaper on an average day."
Since the election The Guardian has been testing out continuing with a live political blog that is regularly updated throughout the day. This prompts the thought – will the most important innovation of the 2010 election turn out to have been the move of newspapers into live rolling coverage of news, further changing them from their traditional publishing schedule into a rival for radio and newspapers with news through the day? And if you become a live news service that people follow regularly, does that open up new monetisation opportunities?
You can read the full report here.