Ebola in the News: The Big Data Behind the Media Coverage

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1 Ebola in the News: The Big Data Behind the Media Coverage

2 Over the last couple of months, you cannot turn on the TV or read online news without seeing a headline mentioning the viral disease Ebola. The largest outbreak to date is currently ongoing and affecting the West African countries of Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia. At first, it was highly unlikely that Ebola would reach the United States, but on September 26, 2014, the first case of Ebola was diagnosed in Dallas, Texas. Since that story and other Ebola headlines broke, we ve been monitoring our media intelligence platform for mentions of Ebola in the news and how those mentions stack up against other top stories.

3 Overall mentions of Ebola Since the diagnoses and recoveries of Americans Dr. Kent Brantly and Nancy Writebol, a man named Thomas Eric Duncan traveled to the US from Africa, was diagnosed and later died from the viral disease. He then infected two nurses, Nina Pham and Amber Vinson, who treated him for the disease. With additional recent headlines relating to Ebola, the total number of mentions of Ebola across broadcast TV, online news, blogs, forums, social media and Twitter has reached nearly 3 million.

4 Peaks of mentions and the key events If you look at the chart below, you will see the sharp peaks and valleys of the data indicating the biggest moments of Ebola in the United States. The first major peak occurred on October 2, when it was first announced that Thomas Eric Duncan s family would be quarantined following his diagnosis of Ebola (over 77,000 mentions). The second peak came with the announcement of Mr. Duncan s death, followed by the diagnosis of nurses Nina Pham and Amber Vinson, who were caring for Mr. Duncan.

5 The peaks and valleys continue The final highest peak, with over 125,000 mentions, occurred on October 16, when nurse Nina Pham released a video from her hospital bed thanking her family and supporters for their well wishes. Not only does this show the power of the news media, but also the power of user generated content. Because her video was released and shared numerous times, it shed light on the deadly virus and how popular user generated content can be.

6 Final peaks and recent developments The last couple of peaks highlight some key moments of Ebola stories in the news media. On October 20, it was announced that additional healthcare workers who cared for Thomas Eric Duncan would be monitored for the virus. On October 23, a fourth American, Dr. Craig Spencer was diagnosed in New York City. The last spike to date occurred on October 24, with almost 100,000 mentions, when New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie mandated new screening procedures for those entering New York area airports from the affected countries.

7 Ebola and Breaking News With any major news story comes the tendency of the media to over analyze or sensationalize the story. On our iq media blog, we discussed the media s overuse of the term breaking news. So we also did a search with the key words Ebola and breaking news and applied it to the story about the second nurse being diagnosed with the disease on October 15. We received some interesting data. At 9 am, Ebola was mentioned over 5,000 times, most likely when most Americans were getting their news for the day.

8 Ebola and Breaking News continued By now, many outlets had confirmed the second nurse had been diagnosed and were reporting it during their midday broadcast. Our data can show you not only the peaks and valleys of your keyword, but can break down that peak hour by hour, giving you insights like never before. In addition to the 9 A.M. spike, there was another at noon as well.

9 Ebola and the stock market Another major headline over the summer was the continued daily struggle of the stock market and the US economy. But how did the news about our economy compare to a major nationwide medical concern? When we completed an ad hoc search of Ebola versus the stock market, we received over 3.7 mentions of both key words. This indicates that news surrounding a major medical virus in the US took precedence over financial news. You ll notice that around late September when Thomas Eric Duncan was diagnosed with Ebola, those mentions didn t even hold a candle to stock market news.

10 Ebola and terrorism Lastly, we took a look at another common headline this summer- the conflict in Syria and how it could potentially affect us here in the US. When we ad hoc searched Ebola along with the keyword terrorism. Mentions of the word terrorism were right in sync with Ebola in the beginning of the summer yet when the first diagnosis of Ebola was announced in the US, Ebola mentions jump dramatically and flatline stories mentioning terrorism.

11 Now that a major deadly virus has entered our country, concern that it will spread quickly will continue to grow and the news media will continue to make it a major headline. Our data shows that even with other major headlines occurring simultaneously, our news media continues to care about the health of our country.!! The great thing about our data is that it can show what our news media is reporting about on a minute-by-minute basis. If you had access to unprecedented data such as ours, what would you search for? Take a look at our Discovery tool today and see how you can utilize the tool and the rest of our media intelligence platform for your daily content marketing efforts.

12 Take a demo of our Discovery tool today Reach us at Designed By: Digital Pomegranate

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