PEJ New Media Index: Bloggers Contemplate the Economy, Rush, and Zombies

  • February 06, 2009

Outrage over economic troubles, President Barack Obama's comments about a radio talk host, and a Texas-sized practical joke captured the attention of bloggers, user news sites and other social media last week. On YouTube, the top news video was Obama's weekly address which focused on his economic stimulus plan.

While the more traditional press overwhelmingly focused on the economic crisis and the stimulus plan, the new media's attention was equally divided among three diverse subjects—the villains of the financial meltdown, Obama's decision to criticize Rush Limbaugh, and jokesters who changed a road sign to warn of a “zombie attack.”  The two politically oriented stories gave rise to often intense discussions, with ideological finger pointing on both sides of the aisle.

These are some of the findings of the second edition of a new feature by the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism.

The New Media Index is an effort by PEJ to monitor the content appearing in new media platforms. The biggest element of this Index is what appears in the 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. Both track the commentary online by identifying what news stories bloggers and other websites link to. Each weekday, PEJ captures the top linked-to stories and analyzes their content. It then compares those findings with the results of its weekly analysis of more mainstream media, the weekly News Coverage Index. The Project also tracks the most popular news videos on YouTube each week.

Read the full report Bloggers Contemplate the Economy, Rush, and Zombies on the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism Web site.