PEJ’s New ‘Index’ Traces Blog and Social Networking Posts

By: Joe Strupp

The inauguration of Barack Obama was the most popular topic at news-related blogs that discuss and link to national stories, according to the Project for Excellence in Journalism, which revealed the results Friday of its first New Media Index.

The New Media Index is a new PEJ monitoring report that tracks issues appearing in more than 100 million blogs and “other social media web pages concerned with national news and public affairs tracked by two monitoring sites, Technorati and Icerocket.”

PEJ has created the index as an addition to its weekly News Coverage Index, which tracks the most-reported stories of the week in mainstream news outlets.

The first New Media Index for the week of Jan. 19 to Jan. 23 found that 63% of the “links embedded in social media sites focused on a single story; the inauguration of Barack Obama, the country?s first African-American President.”

The second-biggest topic was “the on-again off-again possibility that Caroline Kennedy would be named to the Senate seat vacated by Hillary Clinton. Fully 13% of the embedded links were on that topic, versus 5% in the mainstream press.”

“The third and fourth largest stories in the social media world last week were Obama?s decision to order the closure of the detention center in Guantanamo Bay and the ongoing financial crisis facing the U.S. economy, though bloggers devoted much less attention to the economy than did the mainstream press. The economic crisis accounted for 3% of the linked-to stories.”

The fifth biggest subject of the week, accounting for 3% of all links, was the story about Dutch politician Geert Wilders, who was ordered to go on trial for making anti-Islamic statements comparing the Koran to Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf.

The report can be found at:

http://journalism.org/commentary_backgrounder/bloggers_ponder_
every_aspect_obama?s_inauguration

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