PEJ New Media Index: In the Blogosphere, Afghanistan Emerges as a Hot Topic

  • September 10, 2009

For the first time since PEJ launched the New Media Index in January, the conflict in Afghanistan was a major topic in the blogosphere, dominating the conversation last week.

For the week of August 31-September 4, the Afghanistan situation generated 26.3% of the links in blogs, and that discussion was almost entirely focused on an article by conservative columnist George Will advocating a U.S. pullout in Afghanistan. The bloggers seized on different elements of Will's column in their responses, but the prevailing reaction was critical.

Last week's spike in online interest in the eight-year-old war corresponds with a recent uptick in coverage in the mainstream press. For the week of August 31-September 6, Afghanistan was among the top stories in the News Coverage Index, accounting for 9% of the newshole. Apart from that topic, the online and mainstream news agendas differed dramatically last week.

The second-largest story in the blogs, at 16.9% of links, was about Disney buying Marvel Comics for $4 billion. This was followed by a story about how every human being has mutations in their genes (9.7% of the links), a story about the 2010 Congressional elections (8.1%), and a story about former New York governor Eliot Spitzer's possible political ambitions got 7.1%.

Read the full report In the Blogosphere, Afghanistan Emerges as a Hot Topic on the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism Web site.