A recent study by Cornell University studied the flow of news, particularly the process in which information transforms into news, draws audiences’ attention and disseminates. Using computer analysis, researchers reviewed repeated phrases and tracked mentions across 1.6 million mainstream media sites and blogs.
The study showed that most news flowed from traditional media to blogs. In addition, traditional news generation was faster. On average, blogs reported on news that appeared in traditional media 2.5 hours later. According to the study, only 3.5 percent of story lines that originated in blogs made their way to traditional media.
For further information on ‘Meme-tracking and the Dynamics of the News Cycle’ by Kleinberg, Leskovec, Backstrom, click here.
But here is a closer look at the top-level data authors provide here Researchers list some leading blogs and Web sites on this page with their respective lag time. You can see the time it takes for what these outlets publish to hit their peak and become news. According to this list, political blogs such as Talking Points Memo and Huffington Post are pretty damn fast. Their stories publish hours before the same headlines reach their peak in the news cycle (23 hours before for Talking Points and 18 hours before for Huffington Post.)
My take away is that there are many other blogs that pull down the average in such a vast sample of media outlets. We can still expect the leading influential blogs to contribute and drive the public agenda.