Peace Corps Online writes "The NY Times reports that researchers at Cornell studying the news cycle by looking for repeated phrases and tracking some 90 million articles and blog posts which appeared from August through October 2008 on 1.6 million mainstream media sites and blogs, have discovered that for the most part, traditional news outlets lead and the blogs follow, typically by 2.5 hours. The researchers studied frequently repeated short phrases, the equivalent of 'genetic signatures' for ideas. The biggest text-snippet surge found in the study — 'lipstick on a pig' originated in Barack Obama's colorful put-down of the claim by Senator John McCain and Gov. Sarah Palin that they were the genuine voices for change in the campaign. The researchers' paper, 'Meme-tracking and the Dynamics of the News Cycle,' (PDF) shows that although most news flowed from the traditional media to the blogs, 3.5 percent of story lines originated in the blogs and later made their way to traditional media."
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