This week’s Russian word cloud shows some new trends and stories that differ from those of the previous week, though there have been few dramatic shifts in coverage. The most striking new story to emerge here appears to be that of Colonel Yuri Budanov (Полковник Юрий Буданов), who was murdered while awaiting trial for the rape and murder of a young girl in Chechnya. This story accounts for several of the increased frequency words that emerge in this week’s word cloud – a pattern also separately visible across all major media segments except for official government sources. On closer inspection, some other stories have acquired new or renewed attention in particular media segments, with coverage of Ukraine and Mikhail Khodorkovsky featuring prominently in popular blogs and television media respectively.
Words in four prominent media segments (popular blogs, mainstream media, government, television) during the week starting 2011-06-05 (Blue) versus during the week starting 2011-06-12 (Red):
The word cloud above, comparing a combined set of main media sources from June 12th through June 18th 2011 (red) with the same set of sources over the previous week, June 5th through June 11th 2011 (blue), shows several new stories emerging (blue), but none of these are at as high a word frequency as the major words in purple (mentioned frequently both weeks) or even as the major words from the previous week (in red). The cloud compares the combined sets of popular blogs, mainstream media sources, government media content, and television media content across the two weeks.
Some of the newly prominent words do not appear to represent any major new stories –ubiquitous names and financial terms likely appear as top words only because of a relative decline in other major stories with more uncommon terms.
The overall cosine similarity across the four media segments in Media Cloud between the week of June 05-11 and June 12-18 is 0.905, demonstrating a fairly high level of similarity between the two weeks. This level of variation is not constant across all media forms, however. We see some dissimilarities in the patterns of change within distinct media sources.
Government sources here seem to have shown the most significant changes in topical foci between the two weeks, with TV and mainstream media showing the second greatest amounts of change, both showing lower cosine similarity scores than that between popular blogs during this period. This is interesting, as it indicates that the blogosphere’s topical foci have remained relatively constant while some new topics have been introduced to (or have disappeared from) the mainstream media, TV, and government sources.
In terms of coverage of key stories, it appears that there is substantial difference between the topics receiving greatest attention across the different media segments. Most of this variation has been consistent over the last week and does not mark a dramatic shift because of the variation in coverage of a suddenly emerging pivotal story.
As we can see here, there has in fact been a modest convergence in the similarity of different news sources in the last week. That notwithstanding, however, the differences across segments are striking. The following word cloud shows the comparison between the content of popular blogs versus government media outlets during the June 12th-18th period.
Words in Popular Blogs (Blue) during the week starting 2011-06-12 versus words in Government media sources (Red) during the same week:
Here we see that coverage of war, other countries (including the US and Ukraine), Moscow, words related to the internet, politics, and the Budanov murder (colonel, Budanov, murder) all receive more attention in the popular blogs, whereas words related to economics (budget, financial), governance (regional, municipal, federal, law), citizenship (self-governance, participation, citizen) feature prominently in the government media sources.
The extremely low cosine similarity value between popular blogs and government sources is consistent with tendencies noted in previous blog posts. Perhaps more surprising is the fact that TV media sources appear even more dissimilar from government sources, with these two media segments showing the lowest cosine similarity for the week at 0.318.
Words in TV (Blue) during the week starting 2011-06-12 versus words in Government media sources (Red) during the same week:
Here the high frequency words from TV (blue) show significant difference from those appearing frequently in government sources (red) with very little overlap (purple) in high frequency words. While this does not definitively indicate a lack of similarity in coverage (or lack of coverage) of some topics, it certainly appears to indicate that there is a fair degree of dissimilarity in the topics that are covered. In addition to the TV coverage of the Budanov murder (which did not receive frequent mention in government sources), the TV sources for the week included more prominent discussion of Khodorkovsky, war, other countries (including Europe), and cultural items such as film and festivals.
As these last couple examples indicate, some of this dissimilarity here could have to do with non-news content in the TV news feed (or at least a broader definition of news to include things not addressed by government media sources); but, as demonstrated by the other examples of non-overlapping frequent words, it appears there also is some substantial difference in the primary news content.