In this post we propose an indirect way to measure influence of news providers. We use Twitter as filtering criteria.
There are plenty of mechanisms, approaches and rankings concerning the most influential newspapers or news providers. Online difussion and social media proliferation is probably making these kind of analysis more difficult to achieve and less reliable. It is difficult to establish the weight and influence of online and offline editions of news providers like newspapers, radio stations, TV broadcasters and pure digital medial like blogs or pure online newspapers.
We propose here an indirect measure of influence of news providers from any source. The idea is to check which are the news providers used by Twitter users to refer to external sources for explaining or interpreting an event. Of course, this means that this restrict the analysis to only online editions of news providers, and not the original offline content, if existing. This means that the measure that we are proposing contain a number of caveats and limitations. But we consider that they do not undermine nevertheless the validity of the underlying intution: in a tweet, an user is constricted to choose a single external source, if any. Referring to an analysis or news offered by a news provider is a way taken by the Twitter user to show her position in the issue, and to share it with her followers and Twitter community. By picking this news provider, the Twitter user is showing trust and credibility to this chosen source. She is also expanding the area of influence of this news provider, as she is making it accessible to other Twitter users.
Thus, a way to measure which are the external references preferred by active social media users is to monitor news providers that have been used by Twitter users as external references during the period of time that an event or issue was active in social media arena, i.e., the event received a sustained amount of tweets inside this period of time.
Applied Case: Iñaki Urdangarín Hearings for Allegations of Fraud
Iñaki Urdangarín is married with Princess Cristina, duaghter of King of Spain Juan Carlos. He has been asked to testify by 25 February 2012, in the framework of an ongoing judicial case of corruption and fraud of public funds by some Government representatives in Balearic Islands region in Spain. Instituto Noos, ruled by Iñaki Urdangarín and others benefited from public contracts suspected to be fraudulent.
This is an extremeny harmful case as reputation crisis for Iñaki Urdangarín and his wife, but also to all Royal Family, and eventually to the monarchy as ruling institution. It is a highly sensitive issue, that has received a notorious media coverage in Spain, even before that any formal accusation had been made against Mr. Urdangarín, Duke of Palma.
Questioning by the judge was openned by 9am local time, and was stopped by 9pm. It will be continued by Sunday 26 February 2012.
We show below the figure concerning the media from any kind that had been cited as reference and link to Twitter messages from 7am to 12pm, 25 February 2012.
Our results show that the leading reference for the coverage of Iñaki Urdangarín hearings was elpais.com, linked to one of main newspapers in Spain, El Pais. Their news appeared as link in 598 different tweets.
Second news provider was publico.es. The offline reference is left oriented newspaper Público. This newspapers was closed just one day ago due to the economic crisis. The online version of it will persist.
Third media reference is elmundo.es, from the newspaper El Mundo, another leading newspaper in Spain.
We find that forth position th online edition of a radio station, cadenaser.com, for Cadena SER. This radio station pertains to the same group than El País, the Grupo PRISA.