Researchers to study ‘increasing’ influence of e-pundits

THE rise of the online pundit is to be explored by Scottish researchers.

Says Edinburgh Napier University, its £200,000 research project is to consider to what extent the influence of newspaper columnists is being overtaken by ‘e-punditry’.

Reports an university media release: “The project is part of a wider three-year study called ‘Informing the Good Society’, which will examine the role played by information in society and how it can act as a positive force.”

It quotes Dr Alistair Duff, a Reader in Information and Journalism at the university’s Institute for Informatics and Digital Information, as saying: “With fewer and fewer people buying newspapers, the reach of traditional columnists is falling while blogging and other forms of online expression are experiencing phenomenal growth.

“The project will tackle this shift, and examine whether electronic modes of commentary have replaced the traditional ‘op-ed’ and what the implications might be for the social role of the pundit, and for both the press and its supposed successors.”

The release continues: “Funded by a £200,000 Arts & Humanities Research Council grant, the study will also look at how population censuses are coping with the transition to a paperless society – as well as their ethical and political ramifications.”