The Boomerang Effect: Innovation in the Blogs of Mainstream News Sites, 2008–2012


This article examines the tension between the possibilities afforded by innovations in news production and the normalizing force of established routines through a quantitative and qualitative study of blogging in five leading news sites in the United States over a 5-year period (2008–2012). The quantitative examination shows that the prevalence of the native storytelling features of blogs in the online editions of these sites was higher in 2008 than in 2012, with this decrease being relatively gradual during this period. The qualitative analysis suggests that during 2008, a significant minority of blogs in established news organizations operated as spaces that presented news in a personal and opinionated tone. This novelty wore down gradually, and by 2012, the vast majority of blogs exhibited a preponderance of the straight-news storytelling format, and blogs were used mostly as a vehicle for disseminating breaking news. The discussion draws on these findings to reflect on the theoretical and methodological implications of the study for accounts of innovation in journalism and the news.

Media, Culture & Society