PEJ New Media Index: A Rat and a Republican Overtake the Blogosphere

PEJ New Media Index: A Rat and a Republican Overtake the Blogosphere

Two dramatically different stories led the blogosphere last week-the discovery of a new kind of giant rat and a Congressman's outburst during the President's address on health care reform. They each got almost equal attention and combined to make up 39% of the links from blogs last week.

For the week of September 7-11, a giant rat species discovered in a lost volcano in Papua New Guinea generated 20% of the links from blogs according to the New Media Index from the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism. It follows a long line of unusual science-based stories that have gained traction in blogs.

Other offbeat scientific stories that have made the roster of top stories in the blogosphere have included a blue dye found in M&Ms (and tested on rats) that might help reduce damage caused by spine injuries, the discovery of a large meat-eating plant, a research exercise about a world-wide zombie attack and a story about British researchers who claim that some cats have learned to manipulate their owner's emotions. Something about the nature of these bizarre science discoveries not only attract interest, but seem particularly ripe for sharing with the larger community.    

The second-largest topic on blogs last week, health care and specifically the outburst by Congressman Joe Wilson, made up 19% of the week's links and reflects another dynamic in blogs, strong partisan reactions to controversial political events.

Read the full report A Rat and a Republican Overtake the Blogosphere on the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism Web site.

Spotlight on Mental Health

Composite image of modern city network communication concept

Learn the Basics of Broadband from Our Limited Series

Sign up for our four-week email course on Broadband Basics

Quick View

How does broadband internet reach our homes, phones, and tablets? What kind of infrastructure connects us all together? What are the major barriers to broadband access for American communities?

Pills illustration
Pills illustration

What Is Antibiotic Resistance—and How Can We Fight It?

Sign up for our four-week email series The Race Against Resistance.

Quick View

Antibiotic-resistant bacteria, also known as “superbugs,” are a major threat to modern medicine. But how does resistance work, and what can we do to slow the spread? Read personal stories, expert accounts, and more for the answers to those questions in our four-week email series: Slowing Superbugs.

Explore Pew’s new and improved
Fiscal 50 interactive

Your state's stats are more accessible than ever with our new and improved Fiscal 50 interactive:

  • Maps, trends, and customizable charts
  • 50-state rankings
  • Analysis of what it all means
  • Shareable graphics and downloadable data
  • Proven fiscal policy strategies

Explore

Welcome to the new Fiscal 50

Key changes include:

  • State pages that help you keep track of trends in your home state and provide national and regional context.
  • Interactive indicator pages with highly customizable and shareable data visualizations.
  • A Budget Threads feature that offers Pew’s read on the latest state fiscal news.

Learn more about the new and improved Fiscal 50.