PEJ New Media Index: Social and Traditional Media Agree - Botched Terror Attack Is Big News

  • January 07, 2010

In a rare occurrence, three central elements of today's news ecosystem—the mainstream media, blogs and Twitter—agreed on the biggest story of the week, in this case, the failed Christmas Day terror attempt.

From December 28, 2009 to January 1, 2010, more than half (52%) of the news links in blogs were about the attempt to blow up Northwest Airlines Flight 253, according to the New Media Index from the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism.

Many bloggers assigned blame for the attack that led to the indictment of 23-year-old Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, with most putting the onus on the Obama administration. Others expressed frustration over new safety restrictions that stemmed from the incident. And a substantial number of bloggers questioned whether citizens and the government were overreacting to the threat of terrorism.

On Twitter, the story wasn't as dominant (23% of news-related links), but it still topped the news agenda. And Twitterers brought an additional focus: a report about two bloggers visited by Transportation Security Administration agents after they posted details of new screening processes for airline passengers implemented in the aftermath of the plane attack. A number of tweets expressed concern that the government was trying to intimidate bloggers.

Last week's NCI from December 28, 2009-January 3, 2010 examined mainstream news coverage in one sector, daily newspapers. And the failed airliner plot was the top story, at 23% of the front-page newshole, with a narrative that moved from examining how the security system failed to the political implications for the Obama administration to the emergence of Yemen as a dangerous front in the fight against terror.

Read the full report Social and Traditional Media Agree - Botched Terror Attack Is Big News on the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism Web site.