03 April 2008

Did Blogs Lead the Way on Wright Controversy?

Pati Carson
Dow Jones Insight Staff

The Reverend Jeremiah Wright controversy was on the rise at the time of our last post, helping drive Barack Obama’s overall coverage higher. But what has happened since?

In both blogs and newspapers, Obama’s coverage bump was quite pronounced during the week of the 17th. But as the charts below demonstrate, the increase in coverage on blogs came days earlier than the increase in newspapers (with peaks on the 18th and 19th for blogs, compared with the 19th through 21st for newspapers), it was far steeper, and it dropped off far more quickly, perhaps confirming what some have said – that the mainstream media was slow to pick up this story.

Note that these two charts use different scales. In terms of overall volumes, newspaper excerpts mentioning Obama exceeded the number of mentions from the tracked blogs, with newspapers topping out at 3,305 on the 21st, and blog mentions reaching 1,988 on the 18th and 1,989 on the 19th.

Methodology: Sources in the analysis for Chart 1 include 56,972 unique posts from among 2 million of the most influential blogs, dated between March 1 and March 31. Sources in the analysis for Chart 2 include approximately 5,650 English-language newspapers and their related Web sites. The total number of documents analyzed for Chart 2 equals 162,357 from March 1 to March 31, 2008.

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