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From Knoxville: The importance of blogs early in the election cycle.

In the big Tennessee race to succeed Senator Bill Frist, at least one local paper is conceding that blogs will be the place to go for fast-breaking news. Not only that, but blogs will drive the coverage - since the print and broadcast media won't pay attention until the closing weeks.

Frank Cagel, from the Knoxville Metro Pulse (a weekly alternative paper) has this to say...

The Tennessee elections of 2006 will be the first statewide elections in which critical mass has been achieved, so that established blogs, e-mail newsletters and websites will dominate political news. ...

[Traditional news media] are also conceding the pre-primary, when political activists, contributors and interest groups are making up their minds about candidates. It is among these people that blogs will have the most influence because they are there and because it’s the only political news available.

And that's the whole point. Journalists everywhere are freaking out and arguing strenously that blogs will never replace traditional journalism. They're right: There will always be a place for the mainstream media. (Guys, stop worrying about your jobs. It'll be ok.)

But, it's among the activists, opinion leaders, money men, and yes, the media themselves that the blogosphere has the most influence.

If you're trying to influence the early game in the lead up to 2006, now is the time. Get plugged in to the bloggers.

Previously at P&T:
Influencing public opinion through blogging
Blogging Local Politics
Blogging 101
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