October 6, 2010

Tech Topics in the News

% of Tech Stories
Texting while driving 8.5
Apple iPhone 6.4
Iran and Twitter 5.3
Apple iPad 4.6
China and Google 4.1

5% – Percentage of technology stories—from June 2009 to July 2010—related to Iran’s “Twitter Revolution”

Typically, technology subjects do not get a great deal of attention in the mainstream press, accounting for about 2% of the overall coverage examined by PEJ from June 1, 2009 to June 30, 2010. But as a recent report on tech coverage illustrates, there are some technology-related storylines that do trigger media interest.

The No. 1 technology subject in the 13-month period of the study focused on a potentially dangerous aspect of the digital revolution. The dangers of texting while driving accounted for 8% of all the technology stories examined.

The second- and fourth-biggest stories involved the release of new and widely publicized Apple gadgets. Attention to the launches of the iPhone 3GS in June 2009 (6%) and the iPad4 (5%) in June 2010, help demonstrate the interest in Apple’s products. Apple proved to be the most-covered tech company in the mainstream press, generating more attention than Google, Twitter and Facebook.

At the same time, two of biggest technology-related stories involved international issues in which access to information played a central role. The first was the protests that followed the disputed June 2009 elections in Iran—when citizens used Twitter and other social media to spread information about what was happening in the country and to rally support for the protestors. Indeed, the “Twitter Revolution” in Iran accounted 5% of technology stories, making it the No. 3 technology storyline from June 1, 2009-June 31, 2010.

The second overseas event to make the top-five list was Google’s decision to stop censoring its Chinese search engine after Gmail accounts of Chinese activists were hacked (4% of technology stories). In January 2010 the company pulled out from China and directed all Chinese users from google.cn to Google Hong Kong, google.com.hk. In July 2010 Google renewed its license with China and it is once again operating without any censorship.

To learn more read the complete report.

Or to test your knowledge about technology and the news, take PEJ’s new technology quiz.