Obama inauguration got unprecedented news coverage

LOS ANGELES Wed Jan 21, 2009 4:36pm EST

1 of 2. Spectators watch the inauguration ceremony of U.S. President Barack Obama at a gathering in Los Angeles January 20, 2009.

Credit: Reuters/Phil McCarten

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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - President Barack Obama's inauguration generated an unprecedented 35,000 stories in the world's major newspapers, television and radio broadcasts over the past day -- about 35 times more than the last presidential swearing-in -- a monitoring group said on Wednesday.

The Texas-based Global Language Monitor said there had also been 6 million new Obama-related mentions on the Internet since December 31.

By comparison, the last U.S. presidential inauguration, of George W. Bush in January 2005, resulted in about 1,000 stories in major media worldwide, Paul JJ Payack, president of Global Language Monitor said.

"The Obama numbers are unprecedented and speak volumes to the global fascination with the new American president, his wife and young family," Payack told Reuters. "Obama is the biggest story of the century so far."

U.S. television audience ratings for Tuesday's inauguration ceremony, which was shown live on major broadcast networks and cable news channels, are expected to show record numbers tuning in when they are released later on Wednesday.

Payack said that according to his group's monitoring, the Obama campaign and election story had generated 717,000 citations in print, television and radio across the world in 2008 and 254 million mentions on the Internet and in Web blogs.

That surpassed media interest generated by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the global financial meltdown in 2008, the Iraq War in 2003 and the September 11 attacks on New York and Washington, Payack said.

The tallies were calculated using the group's proprietary algorithm which tracks the frequency of words and phrases in the global print and electronic media, the Internet and major databases.

(Reporting by Jill Serjeant; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)

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