Tracking the News Cycle in Blogs and “Traditional” News Media

This is a little far afield of search engines but humor me for a minute. Cornell University had an interesting story about the life cycle of a news story on blogs and on “traditional” media.

Three researchers tracked 1.6 million online news sites, both traditional media and blogs, over a three-month period leading up to the last presidential election. 90 million articles ended up in the analysis. According to their research, traditional media has a pattern of stories rising to prominence slowly than dying quickly, while in blogs stories would become popular quickly and then hang around longer. Of course in both cases stories eventually “cycle out” and new news comes in.

I care about this because it gives me information that might allow me to refine my strategy as an information trapper. There are of course ongoing topics that I pay attention to all the time. On the other hand there are topics that are current-event-based or based on research that I’m doing that I only want to follow temporarily.

Knowing that mainstream news sources ramp up stories slowly and then drop them off over a few days might make me decide that I only want to run temporary searches for a week or so before discarding the search. Or I might decide that I’ll only give a temporary search a week before I reevaluate my search results and decide to use a different set of keywords, or a different focus. On the other hand, I may decide that the life cycle of a story in a blog might mean that I should extend my search for far longer than I would otherwise.

You can get additional information on the research at I don’t do a lot of temporary trapping, but I do some, and I’m looking at this research as a first step to come up with some standard approaches. At the very least it’s given me something to think about.

Categories: News

Tagged as: , ,