It hardly seems a year has passed since last August when the “ground zero mosque” dominated the political news cycle. As summer winds down and Congress goes on recess, journalists are typically left wanting for hard-hitting stories. Not this August.
It’s no secret the dog days of this year’s summer saw big news. From the debt-ceiling fracas in late July, to the U.S. losing its AAA credit rating for the first time, to Muammar Qaddafi’s 42-year rule crumbling in Libya, to a rare earthquake hitting the East Coast, all capped by a hurricane threatening the country’s major population centers.
But the Wall Street Journal took what most journalists — and news junkies — could sense and crunched the numbers. From the WSJ’s Zach Seward:
It turns out that 7.85% more news was published in August than would normally be expected, the largest such jump over the past ten years. The only other August that comes close was in 2004, which saw a 5.37% increase in August news ahead of the presidential election.
Some of the biggest topics in August included the economy (28%), Middle East unrest (11%) and the 2012 campaign (9%). See all the results here.
Seward told TPM that he looked at “publications” in his analysis, in order to maintain consistency over the time period he measured, discounting web-only content.
“The number of individual pieces of content has increased,” he said. “In fact, I could tell you it’s roughly more than doubled over that time period.”
And Seward says the Journal has seen an increase in traffic during August, too. “Where we might have seen a lull in traffic, we’ve actually seen a surge,” he said.