Pew study shows mainstream press influence in life cycle of news agenda remains strong in most areas but social media is gaining ground in populist press and new technology driven stories

Social media sites have short attention spans when it comes to news items on the agenda of the mainstream media, according to a new study. The ‘New Media, Old Media’ report by the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism (PEJ) suggests that on blogs 53 per cent of lead stories in a given week will be shared and discussed for no longer than three days. The same can be said for 72 per cent of lead stories shared via Twitter; 52 per cent drop off the social network’s agenda within 24 hours, the research suggests. The study gathered a year’s worth of data on the top news stories discussed and linked to on blogs and social media sites, including seven months’ worth of tweets and a year of the most viewed news videos on YouTube. Its findings suggest a stark difference between the ‘news agenda’ in the traditional media and that embraced by social media sites and their users. Unsurprisingly the study suggests that more technology stories are shared and discussed on Twitter (43 per cent of stories via Twitter) than on blogs, YouTube and the ‘traditional press’. Politics and government and non-US, foreign news events were most shared on YouTube (47 per cent) and then blogs (29 per cent); while the traditional press dedicated a fairly even amount of coverage to politics (15 per cent), health and medicine (11 per cent) and the economy (10 per cent).


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