New Zealand blogs have become more prominent and influential during 2013, with 280 ranked blogs surfacing across the country.
According to the recent JMAD New Zealand Media Ownership Report 2013, the top political blogs record high visitor numbers among Kiwis.
To be ranked, blogs must have a publicly accessible site meter that tracks visitor numbers, and while the financial ownership of New Zealand media has increased, and mainstream media become even more commercial, interest in public interest journalism is increasing.
“It is not surprising that citizen journalists and bloggers have started to take a more active role," says Merja Myllylahti, author of the report and AUT communication studies lecturer.
"The blogosphere is thriving right now because it provides an alternative to commercially focused media."
Myllylahti says controversial stories in 2013, like the Len Brown scandal (broken on the Whale Oil Beef Hooked blog), the Andrea Vance phone records issue and the passage of legislation expanding the powers of the GCSB, have also contributed to active blogging culture.
“Some recent government actions, like the expansion of GCSB powers, can be seen to threaten media freedom." Myllylahti adds.
"Therefore it is good to see that the New Zealand media is looking for new ways to raise issues, and bloggers are gaining in prominence.”
The top ranked New Zealand blog, Whale Oil Beef Hooked, has more than doubled its visitor numbers since September 2012 to 762,184 visitors per month, and the second ranked blog, Kiwiblog, has 397,034 visitors per month.
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