September 27, 2010

When Technology Makes Headlines

Technology is a Global Topic

Technology coverage in the mainstream media also had a strong international flavor.  In two of the top five storylines the media looked overseas.

First, in June 2009, technology became a central element in the coverage of the Iranian protests. After disputed elections in Iran, protests and violence erupted in many parts of the country. And while the international press were prevented from reporting on much of what was occurring, many so-called citizen journalists within the country conveyed events and pictures using Twitter and other forms of social media. Dubbed the “Twitter Revolution,” many around the globe who sympathized with the protestors mounted their own online campaigns to provide support and disseminate information related to the movement.  

The extensive coverage, though condensed mainly within a two-week time frame, still ranked third for the year, accounting for 5% of all technology-related news stories.  The majority of the coverage appeared on evening network TV (including PBS) and evening cable news shows.  Stories about the revolution also tended to be longer with the majority of network news and cable news stories between one and two minutes, and 9% were more than two minutes long.  In this June 18, 2009, NBC Nightly News story, NBC reporter George Lewis reports on Los Angeles graduate students who are working to fight back against the Iranian government’s trying to shutdown the internet in Iran during the protests, “These young men are not alone, on different continents others are also poking holes in the Iranian internet firewall.”

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The other major international tech storyline turned toward Asia.  Stories of the internet’s impact on communications inside China ranked fifth (4% of all stories studied here). This coverage, with a heavy dose from National Public Radio, included the censorship of Google’s search engine, alleged cyber attacks on the U.S government and other U.S. companies and features on how the Chinese are using the Web.

Also from that side of the globe,  North Korea’s alleged cyber attacks on South Korean and U.S. websites accounted for  2% of all stories and ranked seventh on the list.

Cite this publication: Pew Research Center’s Journalism Project Staff. “When Technology Makes Headlines.” Pew Research Center, Washington, D.C. (September 27, 2010) http://www.journalism.org/2010/09/27/when-technology-makes-headlines/, accessed on July 22, 2014.