Tracking blog coverage

by Eszter Hargittai on November 29, 2004

I have updated the graph that looks at the words “weblog” and “blog” in mainstream print media since 1997. I am sure nobody is surprised to see the large increase during the past year.

The graph represents the results for a search in LexisNexis Academic for “weblog” and “blog” in the General News section of Major Papers from 1997 to 2004 (these searches also turn up results for the plural of these terms). This section includes 47 (53 in 2004) papers from across the world including 24 (29 in 2004) US dailies.[1] The figure shows the change over the past eight years. The 2004 numbers include coverage until November 28, 2004. I also ran the searches for 1995 and 1996 but there was no mention of these terms then either so I decided to follow the suggestion made by a commenter to my previous post on this topic and now just start with 1997.

Please note that this figure does not give accurate information about the total sum of articles on the topic because 1. some articles mention both “blog” and “weblog” and are thus counted in both columns (which also explains why I decided not to stack the two columns on top of each other); 2. I did not do a search for other related terms such as blogger or blogging which may have excluded some articles. Moreover, although for the earlier years I checked each article to verify it featured related content, I did not do this for later years when the numbers became too large (given that this is not a research project, just something I’m doing for fun:). The information on this graph is thus just an estimate of the actual occurance of these words in major print media outlets. Also, because it seems that the General News search of Major Papers in LexisNexis Academic searched more newspapers in 2004 than earlier years, the change in coverage may explain some (although likely not all) of the increase from 2003 to 2004.

(I posted earlier versions of this graph in April, 2003 and May, 2004.)

fn1. It looks like there are quite a few additions/deletions in the LexisNexis Academic database over the years.


1 11.29.04 at 2:01 pm

Interesting data Ezster. Where do you see this ‘cross-referencing’ going? Presumably these references to ‘blog’ and ‘weblog’ are no longer confined to defining the terms, but refer to the content of posts. However, If Kevin Sites’ open letter to the Devil Dogs was significant enough to have a whole article in the NY Times dedicated to its content I’d say that says more about the definition of a ‘blog post’ than evidence of ‘cross-referencing’.


Stentor 11.29.04 at 3:01 pm

You can set Nexis to search just a certain list of papers within a category. So if you wanted to do a little more work, you could re-do the 2004 search limited to just the papers that were indexed in previous years.


eszter 11.29.04 at 4:25 pm

Stentor – Thanks, yes, I’m aware of that. The real work involves figuring out which newspapers were not part of the list in earlier years. Alternatively, if the newspapers added in 2004 were added retroactively with archives of previous years then one could simply rerun the searches for all previous years. But I didn’t want to do that having already done so earlier (and not having more time to spend on this exercise).


Mark - The Podcasting Guy 12.01.04 at 1:04 pm

As a blogger, what are your thoughts on Podcasting?Mark

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