PEJ New Media Index: Same-sex Marriage and a Photo Op Flap Lead a Diverse Online Conversation

May 14, 2009

In a reflection of the often wide-ranging conversation in social media, the online debate last week focused on a diverse news agenda that ranged from same-sex marriage to a botched photo op and from the state of the news industry to the death of a comedian.

The online conversation was unusually balanced, as four different topics generated between 9% and 13% of the links last week. It was also markedly different from the mainstream media agenda, which focused primarily on threats from the economy, the flu and the Taliban.

The top story for bloggers and social media last week was one that had ranked highly in two out of the previous four weeks—same-sex marriage. From May 4-8, 13% of the links by blogs and social media sites focused on the issue, according to the New Media Index from the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism.

The catalyst was last week's vote by Maine's legislature to allow same-sex couples to marry and the Washington, D.C. city council's move to recognize gay marriages performed in other states. Online, the reaction was overwhelmingly approving of the decisions (as it was in early April when the topic was also the lead story). The traditional press barely covered the topic, devoting less than 1% of the newshole to the story.

Read the full report Same-sex Marriage and a Photo Op Flap Lead a Diverse Online Conversation on the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism Web site.

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