A newly released year-long study by the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism looked at US tech coverage in general and individual company coverage in particular and found some interesting things.
Most of the technology coverage from June, 2009 to June 2010 was positive. However the single biggest story was about the dangers of texting while driving: “Nearly one-in-ten technology stories were about this subject, more than five times the coverage of either the U.S. plan for broadband access and six times the coverage devoted to the debate over net neutrality.”
According to Pew the next most prominent story was the iPhone, followed by the iPad. Apple was the “most heavily covered technology company” and “42% of stories” about Apple “described the company as innovative and superior, and another 27% lauded its loyal fan base . . . 17% of stories about Apple” were critical, however.
Most of the coverage of Google was about “the company’s advancements in making content easier to find.” However Google was “half as likely as Apple to be framed as having superior, innovative products (20%).” On blogs Google got more attention than Apple, while Apple trumped Google on Twitter.
Despite the obsession with technology and the perception, driven by leading blogs and Techmeme, that all the news is about tech the “mainstream media” devoted relatively little time to technology according to the Pew findings:
The mainstream media’s coverage of technology was not vast. It made up less than 1.6% of the total coverage over the course of the year, ranking it 20th out of the 26 identified topics. That puts technology news in same range as the environment, sports and education. And while it trails far behind crime (4.7%), it comes in ahead of religion (.6%) and immigration (.9%).