A new study by Cornell researchers shows that traditional (old-media) news outlets lead the blogosphere by 2.5 hours when it comes to breaking news. It's a sign that the old guard should chill out about blogs and how they're destroying the news world.
The Cornell research took an innovative new approach to studying the news cycle. Instead of examining a few case-study pieces of news and extrapolating the behavior of the different media outlets from these limited cases, it used a powerful algorithmic search. 1.6 million mainstream media and blog websites were analyzed in real-time, and to see how news propagated through them all specific phrases were sampled from each site and compared to see how they appeared elsewhere--kind of a text-based fingerprint.
By comparing where these fingerprint phrases, or memes, first surfaced, and then watching for them to pop up elsewhere online, the Cornell team has uncovered how news propagates online. To see how this works, check out Barack Obama's "lipstick on a pig" soundbite's rise to newsworthiness -it was the most prominent fingerprint phrase, or meme, found during the study.
The main result of all this is the it's still the traditional news portals who tend to break the news. Blogs followed up the stories an average of 2.5 hours later.
That's actually no surprise--blogs don't have hundreds of journalists embedded in hotspots around the globe, and don't get special invites to government press interviews. That's just the professional blogs--the millions of amateur blogs tend to be just run by a single person, and these blogs often follow the major ones in a kind of "me too!" information propagation wave.
(Source: Fast Company)