PEJ New Media Index: An Altered BP Photo Leads the Blogosphere

  • August 02, 2010

Last week, the two most popular stories among bloggers highlighted the roles of—and differences between—traditional journalism and digital media in a rapidly changing news universe.

An altered photograph of BP's crisis center during its Gulf cleanup that was first identified by blogger John Aravosis of Americablog provided an example of how social media play an important role as fact-checkers. And a satirical piece by a Washington Post staffer focused on the dramatic changes in newspaper journalism—with much of online commentary coming from print journalists themselves.

For the week of July 19-23, 22% of the news links on blogs were about a Washington Post report on the photo that made the BP crisis center look busier than it was, according to the New Media Index from the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism. (We do not believe Icerocket's news source list includes Americablog which many bloggers linked to as well.) The revelation led many bloggers to attack the already sinking reputation of BP, while some celebrated the blogosphere's role in catching corporate deception.

The second-largest subject, with 16% of the links, was a satirical yet pointed column in the Washington Post magazine by Gene Weingarten who lamented the changes to newspapers in the age of online news. He specifically mourned the loss of creative headlines and also took a jab at online comment sections which, he suggested, are often filled with simplistic and angry messages.

Read the full report, An Altered BP Photo Leads the Blogosphere on the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism Web site.