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An overview of how Bin Laden's death was covered in the news

An overview of how Bin Laden's death was covered in the news

Not surprisingly, the news of the death of Osama Bin Laden monopolized the news yesterday.

Here are some of the most interesting articles analyzing the way the event was covered by media.

Nieman Lab noted that, despite the fact that New York Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger, Jr. announced at the time of the implementing of the paid online content strategy that a gate for breaking-news stories that were, essentially, must-reads, would be opened, for Bin Laden's death this didn't happen. All the articles and blog posts remained behind the paywall.

While it was noted that Internet led the information tide, newspapers played their role as well, increasing their press runs in response to interest among readers, as News & Tech reported. The New York Times printed 165,000 extra copies, 125,000 of which were for distribution in the New York market, more than twice the usual order. The Washington Post said it produced an additional 35,000 copies.

According to a New York Times spokeswoman, quoted by Poynter's Jim Romenesko, the paper's page views between 10 p.m. last night and 2 p.m. today, were 86 percent higher than usual. Romenesko also cited the CNN saying its website has generated 88 million global page views, a 217 percent gain over the prior 4-week average for the same time period, reports the network.

PBS's Media Shift created a timeline of key tweets around the Bin Laden's death, starting from that from the Pakistan IT consultant, Sohaib Athar, who live-tweeted the raid without knowing it.

On the Columbia Journalism Review, Justin D. Martin, journalism professor at The American University in Cairo, reported on how he analyzed with his students, during yesterday's classes, how the international press reported the news, looking at websites around the world in Arabic, English, German, Spanish, Swedish, Italian, Danish, and French. Amongst other things, they noted that Al Jazeera's Arabic site had a very modest spatial mention of Bin Laden's demise, and the organization did not appear to adjust the font size of their headlines at all while the French newspaper Le Monde's site immediately took a more philosophical approach, asking "After bin Laden's death, what is the impact on the threat of terrorism?"
The article also noted that perhaps not surprisingly, given the intense rivalry between India and Pakistan, The Times of India speculated on its homepage above the scroll that Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence, or ISI, may have happily ignored bin Laden's semi-urban bungalow.

Addressing the role Twitter played in exstensively spreading the news - the first credible report being the one tweeted by Keith Urbahn, former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld's chief of staff - Tech Crunch noted that Twitter didn't supplant other media, but it has simply amplified them. "Yes, many people first heard about the news on Twitter, but more often than not the original source of that news could be traced back to mainstream media", the article said. In the writer's opinion, Twitter, whose traffic grew during President Obama's speech confirming the news to a rate of 4,000 tweets per second, had just amplified traditional media, driving people to them.

And not only Twitter. On the NYT's Bit Jenna Wortham highlighted how other social media or media applications' users followed the event through these tools. For example, she reported, users of Instagram, a popular photo-sharing application for the iPhone, flooded the service with photos of Obama speaking, snapped from television and laptop screens.

Path, another popular photo-sharing application for phones, said that more than 20 percent of the items posted to the service Sunday night were related to the Bin Laden news.

On Tumblr, the blogging service, the president's speech became fodder for quick animation loops, and there were doctored images of Obama riding a unicorn, with rainbows shooting out of his hands.

The Guardian created a photo gallery with the principals front pages of American newspapers.



Federica Cherubini


2011-05-03 17:46

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