Fresh on the heels of the controversial Lileks piece this morning, Jeff Jarvis has a long ode to Glenn Reynolds on the occasion of his second anniversary. A snippet:

His unique audience is significant. At its height, during the war, Instapundit had 1.6 million in its audience; that’s the circulation of the magazine I created, Entertainment Weekly. It took EW 10 years to reach that level (and a $200 million investment!!). It took Glenn less two years and a a few grand. Of course, Instapundit is free and magazines cost money and so the comparison on the basis of popularity is unfair. But the comparison on the basis of influence is quite fair.

Or look at the numbers another way: That size of audience would make Instapundit the third biggest newspaper in America, beating out the NY Times. Again, the comparison is unfair (newspapers get that circulation every day; he gets it over a month). But still, the point is the same: Instapundit is an influence. So are other weblogs. So are weblogs as a whole.
Just yesterday, I had a pleasant lunch with a magazine editor who could not be talked into doing a story on weblogs. A few newpaper-editor friends of mine make fun of me for blogging and poo-poo the phenom.

At your peril, folks, at your peril.

The truth is that weblogs are an influence to be reckoned with.

No, Instapundit and even weblogs as a whole do not reach a huge percentage of the population… yet. But the next time you hear someone say that answer with this: Weblogs do reach just as big an audience as most magazines and most newspapers.

And they reach a powerful audience; why else are presidential candidates rushing to blog themselves?

(Hat tip: WizBang!)

FILED UNDER: Blogosphere, , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. On today’s show, Rush heaped scorn and ridicule on bloggers and blogging, gleefully reading most of the article Bill Q. cites.

    I posted an open letter to Rush responding to his nitwittery.

    Radio host Gordon Liddy has really embraced blogs in just the last few days – reads them on the air and amplifies them. Rush needs to get a clue.

  2. bryan says:

    Now, did Glenn really have 1.6 million unique visitors?

    I have to laugh at the way Jarvis immediately goes to name dropping (the magazine I created – Entertainment Weekly.)

    No, Instapundit and even weblogs as a whole do not reach a huge percentage of the population… yet. But the next time you hear someone say that answer with this: Weblogs do reach just as big an audience as most magazines and most newspapers.

    That’s a useless assertion. I don’t think all weblogs reach as big an audience as all newspapers or magazines. One or two blogs reach a large audience. I don’t think Jarvis is doing anyone any favors by comparing apples and oranges like this.

  3. Miguel says:

    In my perception, another point to bring into this discussion is that serious blogs (the ones that mainly deal with important issues for society)have a bigger impact *per viewer* on society than other media. I may be wrong, of course, but I have the impression that such kind of blogs atract cultured, intelectual and wise people, so the impact is bigger as many of the readers are in turn a center of influence and opinion in their every-day environment.

  4. James Joyner says:


    I suspect Glenn had 1.6 million unique VISITS. 🙂

    And I agree on the apples to oranges comparisons. Jarvis is right that blogs are becoming important and that some of the major bloggers are more important than some newspapers and magazines. But I don’t know if we’ll ever get to the point where a single blog is more important than the majors. That would be unrealistic, other than group blogs. It’s arguable, for example, that Command Post was very important during the war. But even the most prolific bloggers are just one person sitting in one spot.

  5. Dean Esmay says:

    Consider this: newspapers and news magazines may boast higher circulation. But how about readership? How many newspapers and magazines sit unread in lobbies, in homes where the subscriber never gets around to them, only browses through them, etc.

    Blogs have an active, informed readership, and read a lot of eyes. As a whole, weblogs are probably as widely read and influential as any one of the nation’s top 50 or so newspapers. The influence grows more profound when you consider the number of young reporters who are weblogging, or reading weblogs.

    Given the incestuous nature of weblogs–the fact that they link each other so much–it really isn’t inappropriate to say that weblogs as a whole are exerting an influence, either.

    It’s much too easy to pooh-pooh this stuff. And by the way, what’s with the cheap shot at Jarvis? Jarvis mentions that blogs are challenging a magazine he created–what’s wrong with that?