Antagoniste


10 juillet 2009

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Iran Twitter

In the Blogosphere, the Walkman and the Pitchman Supplant Michael Jackson

After an initial wave of nostalgia over the death of Michael Jackson, social media moved on to other matters last week. Unlike the traditional press, which remained fixated on the life and death of the King of Pop, that story all but vanished from the links in both blog and twitter posts.

From June 29-July 3, discussion of Jackson accounted for a mere 2% of the links on blogs and other social media, according to the Project for Excellence in Journalism's New Media Index.  This represents a sharp drop-off from the previous week, which, although it included just the first two days of coverage after Jackson's June 25 death, garnered 27% of the links.

Instead, online commentators tracked by the social monitoring services Icerocket and Technorati focused on two different post-mortems last week-one for a bygone technology and the other for another recently deceased celebrity, albeit one lacking Jackson's star power and status.

The top story in social media last week-accounting for 33% of all links-was a report in BBC Magazine about a 13-year-old British boy who was given an original Sony Walkman. He was asked to use the Walkman for a week to help mark the 30th anniversary of that early foray into portable music technology.

Next, at 14% of the links, were tributes to TV infomercial star Billy Mays who died at age 50 (ironically, the same age as Jackson) on June 28. Initially his sudden death was thought to be caused by an injury from a rough plane landing, but later the cause was revealed to be heart disease.

These two stories, which did not show up anywhere in the top-10 list for the mainstream press last week, speak to social media's predilection toward news about technology and the coming together around less well-known celebrity figures. They also, in the case of Jackson, suggest that social media were not as attracted to the secondary and more troubling strains of the fallout from his death.

On Twitter, the Jackson saga was also passé by last week. A separate look at the Twitter tracking site, Tweetmeme, found the Jackson story amounted to just 5% of the tweets with links from June 29-July 3.  Instead, Twitterers continued their focus on Iran which accounted for fully 48% of the links. And again, the emphasis tended to be on how to marshal support for the protesters in that country.

The mainstream press, on the other hand, dug deeper into the Jackson saga last week, according to PEJ's News Coverage Index. Filling 17% of their newshole with Jackson coverage, the traditional media continued to commemorate the star's legacy. But to an even greater extent, they focused on the ominous questions surrounding the role of drugs in this death and potential court battles over his estate and children.

And there was further evidence of the gap in the news agendas of the social and mainstream media. In a week when the U.S. pulled its troops out of Iraqi cities and launched a major offensive in Afghanistan, only 1% of links in the blogosphere were devoted to Iraq and Afghanistan respectively. But in the mainstream media, events in Iraq were the No. 3 story, at 6%, and Afghanistan was No. 4, at 5%. The No. 5 story in the mainstream press was the debate over health care, also at 5%.

In the social media, however, the rest of the top-five story list was strikingly different.

A BBC Science story about researchers who found that a large ant colony in Argentina is actually part of a large interrelated network of ant colonies, was No. 3, generating 12% of the links. The Supreme Court decision about the New Haven firefighters received 9% of the week's links while the subject of global warming, spurred by the U.S. House passage of a climate change bill, got 6%.

Source:
journalism.org
In the Blogosphere, the Walkman and the Pitchman Supplant Michael Jackson


3 juillet 2009

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The Deaths of Michael Jackson and “Neda” Grip the Blogosphere

Michael Jackson and Neda Agha-Soltan had little in common in life. But together last week their deaths in Los Angeles and Tehran consumed the blogosphere and became emblematic of the flow and character of modern communication.

For fans of Jackson, the Web was a place where they could find instant news about his passing and commiserate with others about their feelings and his meaning in their lives. For those following the developments in Iran, the image of "Neda" became a powerful symbol of the protest movement there after an amateur video of her death spread rapidly through Twitter, YouTube and other new media.

They became together the latest demonstration of the power, both emotional and political, of the many-to-many nature of social media.

For the week of June 22-26, discussion of Michael Jackson and Iran in general combined to make up almost half (47%) of the links on blogs and social media as measured in the New Media Index by the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism.

Despite the fact that Jackson's death occurred late in the week, stories about the passing of the pop star led all linked-to topics, accounting for 27% of the links embedded in the social media sites tracked by the monitoring services Icerocket and Technorati. On the evening of his death, interest in Jackson was so high that many of sites with the most popular Jackson pages experienced outages and slowdowns. Accompanying comments from bloggers mostly expressed shock at the singer's death and offered moving accounts of his influence.

Amidst tributes to the pop star, political unrest in Iran remained a major topic for the second week running. In PEJ's index of social media, the subject was the No. 2 story last week (accounting 20% of the week's links). While the conversation focused on a range of related issues (from President Obama's response to day-to-day developments in Iran), a remarkable amount of the discussion focused on the woman who died during a protest over the country's disputed elections.

To many, the pictures of Agha-Soltan's last moments personified the cruelty of the Iranian government in response to the protests. A graphic video of Agha-Soltan's death was the most viewed news video of the week on YouTube.

The third-largest story-line on blogs and social media last week, receiving 10% of the links, dealt with the Obama administration. Much of the attention was focused on a June 24 Washington Post column by Dana Milbank where he sarcastically referred to Obama's recent press conference as the "The Obama Show" and chastised the alleged collaboration between the White House and a reporter from the Huffington Post.

The fourth story (also at 10%) was the admission by South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford that he had been having an extra-marital affair with a woman from Argentina after he had gone missing for several days.

Fifth (at 9%) was an unusual BBC story about Australian wallabies reportedly eating opium poppies and hoping around in circles "as high as a kite."

On a separate social networking platform, Twitter, Jackson and Iran were also the two most linked-to news topics, although the emphasis was different than in the blogs. According to the tracking site Tweetmeme, which tracks links embedded in tweets across the globe, Iran represented 64% of the "news-related" links while Michael Jackson was second at 18%. In other words, the pop star was a major topic, but it did not overtake the intense involvement of this platform in the post-election Iranian protests.

In the traditional press, Iran and Michael Jackson also led the week's agenda combining for 37% of the week's newshole according to PEJ's News Coverage Index. Governor Sanford's scandal was third followed by coverage of the health care reform debate in Washington and continuing reporting about the U.S. economy.

Source:
journalism.org
The Deaths of Michael Jackson and “Neda” Grip the Blogosphere


26 juin 2009

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Citation de la semaine
“YouTube is the only place you’re able to find this footage…What’s happening right now is there is a citizens’ news bureau on the ground in Tehran that is using YouTube as their broadcast platform.” 
—Steve Grove, CBS news

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Iran and the “Twitter Revolution”

Some have already dubbed the protests in Iran to be the "Twitter Revolution."

Certainly the political unrest in Iran has demonstrated as never before the power and influence of social media.

How big has the subject been in the social media conversation in recent days and what role does the discussion appear to be playing?

The Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism took a special look this week at the role of Twitter and other social media to find out in an expanded version of the weekly New Media Index.

From blogs to "tweets" to personal Web pages, the topic dominated the online conversation far more than in the mainstream media as users passed along news, supported the protestors and shared ideas on how to use communication technology most effectively.

In addition to the blogs and social media regularly monitored, PEJ for the week of June 15-19 examined the links being posted (or tweeted) according to the tracking site Tweetmeme. In much the same way that Icerocket and Technorati track links from blogs and other types of social media, Tweetmeme tracks the "hottest" links on Twitter.

And last week, fully 98% of the links from Twitter were about Iran. The tweets took on multiple functions, from spreading unfiltered, albeit often unverified, news around the world to organizing support for those involved in the struggle.

As is the case in many conflicts, the "fog of war" made verifying the quality and sources of information difficult last week. Alongside praises over Twitter's role, some analysts downplayed the site as an organizing tool and there was speculation that tweets purportedly from protestors may have been part of a disinformation campaign. While the original source and location of Twitter links in this analysis is often unclear, the message of these tweets clearly reflects an online activism fostered by new technology.

Among blogs and social media, the main universe of the NMI, the topic accounted for 63% of last week's links. That is the most attention that any single story received in a particular week in the blogosphere since mid-March when 65% of the week's links were about the outrage over the AIG bonuses. (No other story generated more than 6% of last week's links from bloggers.)

The conversation online, in both blogs posts and tweets, amplified a trend PEJ has noticed in social media. It is not just about expressing one's opinion or even passing along information. It is also about getting actively involved.

In the traditional press, the Iranian situation also led the agenda, though to a much lesser extent. About a quarter (28%) of last week's newshole was devoted to the subject according to PEJ's News Coverage Index. The other top stories were the economic crisis, debates over health care reform, concern over North Korea's missile program and wide-ranging coverage about the Obama administration.

Source:
journalism.org
Iran and the “Twitter Revolution”


19 juin 2009

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Political Extremism (At Home and Abroad) Dominates the Blogosphere

Reaction to two events that put the spotlight on political extremists overwhelmed the discussion in the social media last week. One, widely covered in the U.S. media, was the attack at the Holocaust Museum in Washington D.C. by a white supremacist. The other, barely noticed in this country, was a European Parliamentary election that seated two members of a hard-line right-wing party.

Together, these two stories generated almost 60% of the week's links on the Web tracking site Icerocket, according to the New Media Index by the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism. The two events also produced a similar pattern of response in the social media-outrage followed by more polarizing commentary about the causes and impact of ideological extremism.

Stories about the European election generated nearly a third (30%) of the week's links, a clear indication of the international flavor of the online community. While a few American bloggers reacted, the vast majority of commentary came from British bloggers upset at the election of two members of the anti-immigrant British National Party (BNP) to represent the U.K.

The shooting at the Holocaust museum (29% of the week's links) by white supremacist and Holocaust denier James W. von Brunn was primarily of interest to American bloggers who quickly turned to the question of who deserved blame.

The third-largest story, at 10% of the week's links, was the latest chapter in a saga that has generated significant interest in the social media. Last week, Miss California Carrie Prejean was stripped of her crown by pageant producers. She first gained attention back in April when her opposition to gay marriage-in response to a judge's question at the Miss USA pageant-prompted bloggers to cheer her willingness to stand up for her beliefs. The pageant producers stated that she was dethroned for contract violations and not for her stance on gay marriage.

The fourth-largest story last week (at 8%) was a June 9 BBC report that downplayed the hype over the popular Web site Twitter. The story described a Harvard study finding that  just 10% of Twitter users generate more than 90% of the site's content, and that the majority of users update their page less than once every 74 days.

The fifth biggest subject (also at 8%) was a June 8 CNN.com story about two American journalists, Laura Ling and Euna Lee, who were sentenced to 12 years of hard labor in North Korea after a closed door trial that generated international protests.

PEJ's New Media Index typically utilizes data collected from two different Web tracking sites, Icerocket and Technorati. (Technorati has been having technical problems so this week's NMI is based solely on daily figures from Icerocket.)

The top stories in the mainstream press last week were largely different from those online. With the exception of the Holocaust Museum shooting, which filled 11% of the week's newshole in the traditional press, the other top stories received very little attention online. The No. 1 topic was the ongoing economic crisis (at 13%). After the museum shooting came the debate over health care reform (7%), the Iranian elections (6%), and the troubles plaguing the U.S. auto industry (6%).

Source:
journalism.org
Political Extremism (At Home and Abroad) Dominates the Blogosphere


12 juin 2009

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The Killing of George Tiller Dominates the Blogosphere Debate

The killing of abortion doctor George Tiller was eclipsed by Barack Obama's Mideast trip and economic news in the mainstream press last week. But in the social media, the May 31 shooting that sparked an impassioned debate over a divisive issue was the week's dominant subject.

From June 1-5, the death of Tiller-a rare provider of late-term abortions who was shot while in church-generated 31% of the week's links on the Web tracking site Icerocket, according to the New Media Index by the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism.

Much of the online commentary was intense and polarizing, reflecting the hardened ideological fault lines on abortion.  For many of those who were pro-choice, Tiller's murder was an act of terror against a man who devoted his life to helping women. Conversely, pro-lifers saw Tiller as someone responsible for the deaths of thousands of unborn fetuses.

But beyond those arguments, a more complex series of cross-currents emerged in the blogosphere commentary. While most pro-life advocates condemned the murder, some wondered if it could be morally justified. Some pro-choice bloggers speculated about the role of certain talk hosts in inciting violence. And commentators on both sides of the issue pondered the impact of the crime on the ongoing battle over abortion policy.

The second-largest story in social media last week, receiving 23% of the week's links on Icerocket's list, was the death of actor David Carradine in Thailand at the age of 72.  The next two were more serious, policy related topics: At 17% of the links was a June 2 report by the Associated Press (on the Washington Post Web site) about whether a comment from Obama signaled that it might be acceptable for Iran to develop nuclear power for peaceful use. This was followed by discussion of efforts to protect against terrorist attacks (8%), triggered by a  USA Today/Gallup  poll showing most Americans oppose the closing of Guantanamo Bay. And the No. 5 story, at 7%, was of the tragic June 1 crash of an Air France plane with 228 aboard.

PEJ's New Media Index typically utilizes data collected from two different Web tracking sites, Icerocket and Technorati. However, Technorati has been having technical problems so this week's NMI is based solely on daily figures from Icerocket.

The top stories in the mainstream press last week focused on Obama's Mideast trip and Cairo speech (20% of the week's newshole), followed by  the ailing U.S. auto industry (13%) and the ongoing economic crisis (11%). The Air France disaster was next at 10%. The Tiller shooting filled 8% of the newshole, roughly one-quarter of the attention it generated online.

Source:
journalism.org
The Killing of George Tiller Dominates the Blogosphere Debate


5 juin 2009

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Ruling on Prop 8 Triggers the Online Debate

Over the past two months, one issue has emerged as the leading catalyst for online conversation. While debates over harsh interrogation methods and the economic crisis have repeatedly attracted interest in the social media, the subject of gay marriage has bubbled up again and again, in a debate often missing from the mainstream media.

Last week (May 25-29) it was a California Supreme Court ruling upholding a gay marriage ban that re-ignited the social media debate, according to the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism. With 35% of all the linked to news stories, as studied by the Project's New Media Index, the ruling dominated online conversation. That marked the fourth time in the last two months that the topic has either been the No. 1 or No. 2 story.

Earlier attention was also triggered by state government actions. First, in early April the Vermont legislature and Washington D.C. City Council approved gay marriage initiatives, followed by the Maine legislature in early May. Then last week's ruling in California turned in the other direction, upholding that state's ban on same-sex marriage. The one other driver, in late April, was Miss USA contestant Carrie Prejean who voiced disapproval of same-sex unions in response to a pageant judge's question.

The intense social media focus on same-sex marriage stands in stark contrast to mainstream press attention. Over the past two months, the topic generated 11% of the links in the blogosphere but filled just 1% of the newshole in the traditional media.

That disparity in coverage illustrates a basic difference between the traditional media's more hierarchical structure and the online world's self-motivating communities of interest.

More mainstream media editors must weigh an event or issue against the day's other news when allocating resources and space, often creating a substantial threshold for stories to gain prominence. In the blogosphere, on the other hand, any event tied to an issue that mobilizes a segment of the social media universe can quickly gain attention and dominate the conversation.

A series of state decisions on Gay marriage-a subject that stirs great passion and interest for some news consumers-speaks to this phenomenon.

Another component to the online discussion is how the debate breaks down. For the most part, the initiatives approving gay marriage sparked more response from supporters who cheered on the movement. The notable exception is the Prejean episode which generated more commentary from opponents who praised her for standing up for her beliefs.

Last week however, was the first one in which the conversation was quite mixed, with both supporters and opponents of same sex marriage contributing to the debate.

From May 25-29, the debate over the Prop 8 ruling overshadowed a number of other subjects. No. 2 in the blogosphere (at 19% of the links) was a discussion of health care triggered by news of a possible new sales tax to fund it. The No. 3 story in social media (12%) was the nomination of the first Latina Supreme Court Justice, Sonia Sotomayor-a subject that topped the mainstream news agenda. That was followed by Obama's announced intention to appoint a cyber security czar (8%) and the North Korean nuclear test (5%).

PEJ's New Media Index typically utilizes data collected from two different Web tracking sites, Icerocket and Technorati. However, Technorati has been having technical problems so this week's NMI is based solely on daily figures from Icerocket.

Source:
journalism.org
Ruling on Prop 8 Triggers the Online Debate


22 mai 2009

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Once Again, Interrogation and Torture Drive the Online Debate

The polarizing issue of what defines torture dominated social media last week, marking the third time since the beginning of April that the subject has been among the top-two weekly stories in the blogosphere. From May 11-15, almost a quarter of the links (23%) on blogs and social media sites related to the  debate over harsh interrogation techniques, according to the New Media Index from the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism.

The commentary online spread across two main areas of debate: Whether harsh interrogation techniques help keep the country safe, as former Vice President Dick Cheney has repeatedly suggested in a series of media interviews, and whether President Obama should release photographs of reported abuse of prisoners.

In the latter case, Obama experienced somewhat rare criticism from left-leaning bloggers who were disappointed with his decision to not release photographs involving U.S. soldiers and their prisoners.

Beyond the issue of torture, last week's most discussed topics online were a diverse mix ranging from remarks by a Saudi judge to the White House Correspondents' Dinner to health care reform.

The second largest story online, with 11% of the links, was a CNN report that quoted a  Saudi Arabian judge saying it was okay for husbands to slap their wives if they spend too lavishly. The comment was universally condemned online with many bloggers connecting it to other examples of the mistreatment of women in that country.

The third most linked to story took a somewhat lighter tone, the May 9 White House Correspondents' Association dinner (10%) where President Obama performed his first comedic monologue as Commander-in-Chief to mostly positive reviews. Some bloggers, however, felt Obama had reacted inappropriately to controversial jokes told by the mistress of ceremonies, comedienne Wanda Sykes.

Fourth (at 8%) was a report on Foxnews.com about the Andersons, a family living in Chicago that decided to only patronize black-owned businesses for a year as an "Empowerment Experiment."

Health care policy and Obama's May 11 health care summit rounded out the top five (7% of links). Some of the discussion revolved around a May 10 New York Times column by Paul Krugman applauding insurance companies' willingness to participate in discussions about reforming the system. Social media also focused on a May 8 report in the Los Angeles Times that claimed the Obama administration was threatening to rescind stimulus money earmarked for California if wage cuts to unionized health care workers were not restored.

Two of the week's top-five stories matched up in both the traditional press and social media-terrorism and interrogation techniques (22% in the mainstream press) and health care policy (6%). The other top stories in the mainstream press were the economic crisis (at 12% of the newshole), further troubles for the U.S. car manufacturers General Motors and Chrysler (5%), and continued developments in the war in Afghanistan (4%).

These are some of the findings of the PEJ's New Media Index for the week of May 11-15, an effort to monitor the content appearing in new media platforms. The full methodology is described below, but this week, due to recurring technical problems with Technorati, the data comes primarily from Icerocket. (Data from Technorati was only available Monday, May 11, and Tuesday, May 12. The page was not functioning properly for the remainder of the week.)

Source:
journalism.org
Once Again, Interrogation and Torture Drive the Online Debate


15 mai 2009

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Citation de la semaine
"The results of the bank stress tests have been trickling out for days, from Washington and from Wall Street, and the leaks seem to confirm what many bankers feel in their bones: despite all those bailouts, some of the nation’s largest banks still need more money."
—New York Times

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Economy Up and Flu Down in a Stressful Week

The news narrative shifted significantly last week as the stress tests for troubled banks overshadowed a flu outbreak that suddenly seemed less stressful.

The release of the financial health reports of 19 major banks helped make the economic crisis the top story from May 4-10, according to the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism. The economy’s health filled 21% of the newshole studied in PEJ’s weekly News Coverage Index during the week. That’s double the coverage of the previous week and the most attention the financial meltdown has received in the 55 media outlets included in the NCI in six weeks. Two related subjects, the President’s plan to crack down on overseas tax havens and the troubled auto industry, filled about another 8% of the newshole.

Conversely, coverage of the swine flu outbreak—while still the No. 2 story at 9%—plunged by more than two-thirds last week as evidence suggested the virus was less severe than previously feared. The previous week, the potential for a pandemic had overwhelmingly dominated the news agenda, accounting for 31% of the coverage and crowding most other subjects out of the headlines.

With its new name, H1N1 rather than swine flu, the global health threat had to share attention last week with some overseas national security threats. The volatile situation in Pakistan, where that nation’s military battled the Taliban, was the No. 3 story, at 5%. But the conflict in neighboring Afghanistan accounted for an additional 3%, while Obama’s May 6 meeting with the leaders of Afghanistan and Pakistan filled another 3%. That brought coverage of what some in the media and Washington are now calling the “Af-Pak” crisis—depicted by the administration as one inextricably intertwined geopolitical challenge—to 11% of the week’s newshole.

Still, it was the fragile state of the economy that re-emerged as the dominant story last week—with several caveats. The level of press attention still pales in comparison to earlier in the year. (In the first two months after Obama’s inauguration, the subject filled 43% of the newshole.) And to some extent, economic coverage is pegged to specific events and milestones—such as last week’s release of the bank stress tests. When such signposts emerge, media interest seems to spike. When there are not such visible measures of economic health, tracking the state of the economy becomes more difficult for the media, more of a subterranean slog.

Source:
journalism.org
Economy Up and Flu Down in a Stressful Week


8 mai 2009

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Citation de la semaine
"I wouldn’t go anywhere in confined places now"
—Joe Biden on Today Show (talking about the swine flu)

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Flu Fears Dominate a Week of Big Events

Last week, a key Republican senator switched parties, altering the balance of power on Capitol Hill. Barack Obama celebrated his 100th day in office with a prime-time press conference. The chairman of Bank of America was ousted and the Chrysler Corporation declared bankruptcy.

Yet all those stories were overwhelmed by the frantic coverage of a new flu virus that in a matter of days had made its way around the globe and was threatening to become the first influenza pandemic in four decades. From April 27-May 3, the swine flu, or H1N1 as it officially became known, accounted for nearly one-third of the newshole (31%) studied, according to the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism.

This marked only the second time since January 2007 that a health-related subject led PEJ’s weekly News Coverage Index. That other story, now mostly forgotten, was the potential spread of a seemingly dangerous form of tuberculosis by an Atlanta lawyer, and it filled 12% of the newshole from May 27-June 1, 2007.

The dominant story of the year so far, the economic crisis, fell to No. 2 last week, at 10% of the space studied in print and online and time on television and radio.  That was followed (at 9%) by the Obama administration with the focus on evaluations of the President’s first 100 days. Moderate Pennsylvania Republican Arlen Specter’s defection to the Democrats came next (9%), followed by more bad news from the auto industry (at 8%).

It’s quite possible that in another week, any or even all of those stories might have received substantially more attention. But the possibility of pandemic flu overwhelmed the media as they scrambled to cover various aspects of the story—from epidemiology to human interest, from the growing number of victims to the political fallout. Press attention was so extensive that some of the coverage began examining whether the threat had been overblown and the media’s role in that.

Source:
journalism.org
Flu Fears Dominate a Week of Big Events