PEJ New Media Index: The UK Elections Consume the Blogosphere

  • May 20, 2010

The May 6 elections in the United Kingdom, which ended with a coalition government and a Conservative Party prime minister, received modest attention in the mainstream U.S. media. However, on social media, where geographic boundaries vanish, the blogosphere was consumed with the formation of the new British government.  

For the week of May 10-14, fully 61% of the news links on blogs were about the British election according to the New Media Index from the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism. That was more than ten times the attention to the week's next largest subject and equaled the highest level of interest that any single topic has generated so far in 2010. (During the week of March 22-26-following the House's passage of health care reform-that subject also made up 61%.)

That stands in stark contrast to the mainstream press, which devoted only 2% of its newshole to the British election the week of May 10-16, according to PEJ's News Coverage Index.

The online discussion, mostly by British bloggers, did not take an overwhelmingly ideological tack, although there seemed to be general relief that beleaguered Labour Prime Minister Gordon Brown was no longer in power. In the aftermath of an election in which no single party got a ruling majority, it largely focused on the details for the somewhat unlikely alliance between the Liberal Democrats and Conservatives that installed Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron.

Read the full report The UK Elections Consume the Blogosphere on the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism Web site.