Blogs influence traditional media influence politics

During the morning reads of my feeds I found an article on Slashdot reporting on the article Web of Influence by Daniel Drezner and Henry Farell published in Foreign Policy. The authors give an elaborate view on the influence of weblogs on (US) foreign politics.

Every day, millions of online diarists, or “bloggers,” share their opinions with a global audience. Drawing upon the content of the international media and the World Wide Web, they weave together an elaborate network with agenda-setting power on issues ranging from human rights in China to the U.S. occupation of Iraq. What began as a hobby is evolving into a new medium that is changing the landscape for journalists and policymakers alike.
Source: Foreign Policy

Drezner and Farell see the top dozen American political weblogs as a service-hatch (doorgeefluik). They take over interesting news from smaller weblogs and publish it on their own weblogs. Journalists of the traditional media read these weblogs and report about it. Then finally politicians read about the interesting posts of weblogs through the coverage of the traditional media.
The article in Foreign Policy focusses on (duh) weblogs influencing foreign policy. The article however points to a paper that was presented by Drezner and Farell at the 2004 American Political Science Association (APSA) annual meeting.

Weblogs occupy an increasingly important place in American politics. Theirinfluence presents a puzzle: given the disparity in resources and organization vis-à-visother actors, how can a collection of decentralized, nonprofit, contrarian, and discordantwebsites exercise any influence over political and policy outputs? This paper answersthat question by focusing on two important aspects of the “blogosphere”: the distributionof readers across the array of blogs, and the interactions between significant blogs andtraditional media outlets. Under specific circumstances – when key weblogs focus on anew or neglected issue – blogs can socially construct an agenda or interpretive frame thatacts as a focal point for mainstream media, shaping and constraining the larger politicaldebate.
Source: The Power and Politics of Blogs

I’m interested if I can use their results in my research on the Dutch blogosphere and their relation and influence on politics. I will keep you informed.