April 15, 2010

i-Pad Leads, But Tech News Gets Few Headlines

% of Newshole
iPad unveiling January 25-31 2010 2.8
Google China March 22-28 2010 1.9
iPhone unveiling January 7-12 2007 1.3
iPad released March 29-April 4 2010 1.3
TV switch June 8-14 2009 1.2
iPhone released June 24-29 2007 1.1

1.3% – Percent of newshole about the iPad the week it was released

Technology stories, like the April 3 release of the iPad tablet by Apple, rarely generate front-page headlines. News of the iPad hitting store shelves filled just 1.3% of the newshole from March 29–April 4. That level of attention put it behind the 2010 census (1.8%) and the Tea Party movement (1.6%) that week.

Still, the iPad release is the fourth-biggest technology story since the Project for Excellence in Journalism began the News Coverage Index in January 2007. Indeed, four of the top six technology stories are about Apple devices. The top story overall was the initial unveiling of the iPad by Apple.

That January 27 public exhibit by Apple’s CEO generated more than twice the coverage of its sales release to consumers. The initial announcement filled 2.8% of the newshole the week of January 25–31. Though it was still only the eighth-biggest news story that week (No. 1 was the president’s State of the Union Address).

By way of comparison, the iPad debut was the No. 1 topic on Twitter, (18% of the news links) and the fifth-biggest topic on blogs (7% of the links) the week of January 25-29 according to the PEJ’s New Media Index. iPad news in general has been among the top five most-linked-to subjects on Twitter in four of the last five weeks.

Two other of the top technology stories related to another Apple device: the introduction (1.3% of the newshole from January 7-12, 2007) and release of Apple’s iPhone (1.1% from June 24-29 2007, 2007).

The second-biggest technology story in the mainstream press since PEJ began compiling the data is Google’s decision to stop censoring the results of searches in China and move its offices in that country to Hong Kong. The story filled 1.9% of the newshole from March 22-28, 2010.  The No. 5 story was the switch from analog to digital television in the United States (1.2% the week of June 8-14, 2009).

Tricia Sartor of PEJ