The Sport-Blogging Community and the Public Sphere: An Israeli Perspective

Abstract
The aim of the current research was to determine the extent to which blogs serve as a public arena, wherein discourse conditions of equality, mutuality, and symmetry are amplified. Research questions were tested through a convenience sample from audience members (N=103) of the most popular sporting blog in Israel, and involved online surveys and an in-depth interview with the blog writer. Findings illustrate the process of forming a social community (virtual settlement/virtual community) through discussion and engagement, to a large extent similar to the ideal speech situations presented by Habermas. Indeed it seems that everyone is entitled to converse and engage in discourse; each person has the right to raise questions, question any claims made in the discourse and make any claim that comes to mind. Findings indicate that: specific topics receive disproportionate coverage, debate often leads to an overlapping collection of conversations and not to a single discussion, and not all topics are subjected to rational debate.
Keywords sports  blogging  Israel  public sphere
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