Report

PEJ New Media Index: Bloggers Focus on April Fools' Joke, Interrogation, and an Actress

  • April 10, 2009

After two weeks when the economic crisis was the overwhelming focus of social media, bloggers, from March 30-April 3, spread their attention evenly over a more eclectic group of stories.  

Indeed it was a week of stark contrast between the mainstream and social media agendas. The top three stories in the traditional media-the G-20 Summit, the economic crisis and the troubled U.S. auto industry-all related to the dominating U.S. recession. The three leading topics in the blogosphere-an April Fools' joke about journalism, anti-terror interrogation techniques, and an actress who is no fan of Barack Obama-had nothing in common except an ability to spark online conversation.

The most discussed story last week wasn't even real. An April Fools' Day report on the Web site of the British paper, the Guardian, proclaimed it would scrap its print edition and use the popular online communication site Twitter. This story received 13% of the links by blogs and social media sites according to the New Media Index from the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism.

While bloggers got the joke, it gained attention because some felt the phony Twitter story offered genuine insight into the huge economic and technological changes transforming the news business.  It also marked the third time since PEJ began the New Media Index in January that a practical joke was one of the top subjects. (The other two included a digitally altered road sign and a teenager who painted a graphic image on the roof of his home.) 

Read the full report Bloggers Focus on April Fools' Joke, Interrogation, and an Actress on the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism Web site.