Authors Stephen Lacy, Margaret Duffy, Daniel Riffe, Esther Thorson and Ken Fleming have examined 86 citizen blog sites, 53 citizen news sites and 63 daily newspaper sites. On the basis of what newspapers produce, the academics determined the bloggers and citizen sites could not be substituted.
Somewhat surprisingly, the study found the citizen sites weren't timely. The structure of content was different. The volunteer nature of the creation hampered timeliness.
But the authors found these sites can be effective complements to newspapers.