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Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide
Apr 07

Media has away with words

There are 32% fewer articles being published by traditional technology publications today then there were just two years ago. How do I know? Well I don’t. Not for certain. But I think I have information that points to this conclusion.

A few weeks ago I was asked if there was some way to articulate the decline in traditional tech media beyond pointing to layoffs and examples of magazines folding or moving online. I thought about it for a while and came to the following conclusions:

  • If the traditional tech media is declining then fewer articles must be appearing.
  • If fewer articles are appearing, then media databases should pick up the change.
  • If this is true then searching several years’ worth of tech trade articles for common, every-day words should provide a reasonably accurate picture.

With these points in mind I decided to count the number of articles in technology trade media from 2004-2008 featuring the most frequently used word in the English language: ‘the’.

I found that from 2006-2008 the number of articles decreased from 135757 to 92021, a decline of 32%. While not perfect, this seems to strongly indicate that there are 32% fewer articles being published by these outlets today then in 2006.

For more info, a fuller explanation and a look at some other words that seem to confirm this analysis, see Difference Engineering, a new blog I’ve started that will explore marketing and communications from a more objective lens.

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Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide