The symbiosis of news coverage and aggregate online search behavior: Obama, rumors, and presidential politics
Weeks, B., & Southwell, B. (2010). The symbiosis of news coverage and aggregate online search behavior: Obama, rumors, and presidential politics. Mass Communication and Society, 13(4), 341-360. DOI: 10.1080/15205430903470532
Using a relatively new approach, this study examines the agenda-setting effects of television and newspaper coverage of a prominent rumor from the 2008 presidential election: the rumor that Barack Obama was secretly Muslim. In doing so, we look at the relationship between online information-seeking behavior and mass media news coverage, expecting online behavior, such as search, to be a function of exposure to conventional news coverage rather than vice versa. Using Google search trends as a novel search behavior measure, we demonstrate that volume of news coverage positively predicts spikes in aggregate search.