The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

Political blogs gain popularity

When Daniel Suhr has an opinion on political or Marquette issues, he does not wait for a newspaper to call and ask him his opinion.

Instead, Suhr, a junior in the College of Arts & Sciences, sits down at the computer, types for a few minutes and posts his opinion on a Web site, where anyone can read it.

As part of, Suhr joins a trend of students and faculty at Marquette who have set up politically-oriented Web logs — commonly known as blogs — in the last couple months.

Web logs have many advantages over traditional media, such as newspapers and television news, according to bloggers.

Suhr said he likes the "real-time nature" of blogging.

"If the Tribune runs a Viewpoint we disagree with, we can run a response immediately," instead of waiting for the next issue of the newspaper to have the response published, he said.

Others found that without a blog, they were unable to offer their opinions as much as they wanted. Joseph Kastner, a freshman in the College of Arts & Sciences, said he was frustrated that he could only have one Viewpoint printed every four weeks, in accordance with Tribune policy.

So he decided to start his own blog to be able to post more frequently.

John McAdams, associate professor of political science and creator of the Marquette Warrior blog, said he enjoys the freedom of blogging.

"There is a lack of gatekeepers," who limit what is printed in traditional media, he said. "The Internet has been a huge boon to information."

The audience for politically-oriented blogs is growing, according to Philip Seib, Lucius W. Nieman Professor of Journalism. But getting others to know about a Web log, especially if they do not share a blogger's political persuasion, is a challenge, Seib said.

"A lot of blogs are preaching to the choir," he said.

But College of Business Administration junior Brandon Henak believes there is a diverse audience for their Web log. Henak is the president of the College Republicans and part of with Suhr and Brian Collar, an Arts & Sciences sophomore.

"I'd estimate our readers are 60 percent conservative, 40 percent moderate or liberal," Henak said.

Although is run by three College Republicans, the site has no affiliation with the group.

Greg St. Arnold, an Arts & Sciences sophomore and co-chair of Jesuit University Students Together in Concerned Empowerment, reads McAdams's blog and and said he often finds himself disagreeing with their more conservative stances.

"I said to myself, I can do this," St. Arnold said. So he started his own blog, The Smoking Room, over spring break. Thus far, he has a limited readership, but enjoys blogging and reading others' responses.

"I like the immediate dialogue," he said. For example, he responded to a post regarding the chapter of Amnesty International at Marquette, and Suhr, who started the post, answered within a day.

"I think this is something that will catch on," St. Arnold said.

But it will take some time. Most bloggers said they have worked to get links to their blogs on other politically-oriented Web sites, but the overall idea of blogs still has not reached the general population, according to Seib. However, Seib predicted more people would use blogs over the next few years.

And the current bloggers plan to continue their work.

"We are going to hopefully continue the project after we leave Marquette as a way to continue a lifelong discussion," Collar said.

This article appeared in The Marquette Tribune on April 5 2005.

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