PEJ New Media Index: Social Media Tackles Controversial Issues

  • February 12, 2010

Social media took on a host of controversial issues last week, from abortion to gay rights to health care reform. The online community gave the hot-button topics not only more attention than the mainstream press, but also much more opinionated intensity.  

The most discussed subject on blogs was an anti-abortion television commercial featuring college football star Tim Tebow. Specifically, bloggers linked to the February 2 Washington Post column by sportswriter Sally Jenkins, who is admittedly pro-choice, but who voiced support for Tebow and opposition to a number of women's groups who had been critical of his political stance.

From February 1-5, fully 28% of the news links on blogs were about Jenkins' article, according to the New Media Index produced by the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism. Almost all of the bloggers who linked to the story supported her view.

The same topic did not generate much interest in the mainstream press last week. While a few sportswriters and political pundits touched on the issue, it was not among the top ten subjects covered in the traditional press according to PEJ's News Coverage Index.

Read the full report Social Media Tackles Controversial Issues on the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism Web site.