The story of a California teen gang-raped while a crowd stood by and watched commanded the attention of the blogosphere last week while not registering among the five most-covered stories in the mainstream media, according to the latest New Media Index from the Project for Excellence in Journalism (PEJ).
For the five days spanning Oct. 26-30, the story claimed more than a quarter (26%) of the links to news-related stories on blogs, topping Afghanistan (16%) at number two and the swine flu with 11% at number three.
The fifth-largest story was about the curry spice that may kill cancer, continuing a trend, the index pointed out, of bloggers' fondness for strange science stories. Past stories have included meat-eating plants and a chemical in blue M&M's as a treatment for spin injury.
By contrast, according to PEJ's weekly News Coverage Index, the gang rape story commanded only 1% of the mainstream media's coverage Oct. 26-Nov. 1 (the latter is a seven-day measure to capture the Sunday newspapers and public affairs shows). Health care topped their list at 16%, followed by Afghanistan at 13% and the economic crisis at 12%.
Tops on Twitter was a CNN story about two hapless burglars who tried to disguise their faces with indelible black marker, which accounted for 14% of the tweets.
PEJ uses data from icerocket, technorati and twetememe to monitor Web coverage.