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Contribution Details

Type Journal Article
Scope Discipline-based scholarship
Title The simple regularities in the dynamics of online news impact
Organization Unit
  • Matúš Medo
  • Manuel Mariani
  • Linyuan Lü
Item Subtype Original Work
Refereed Yes
Status Published electronically before print/final form (Epub ahead of print)
  • English
Journal Title Journal of Computational Social Science
Publisher Springer
Geographical Reach international
ISSN 2432-2725
Page Range Epub ahed of print
Date 2021
Abstract Text Online news can quickly reach and affect millions of people, yet we do not know yet whether there exist potential dynamical regularities that govern their impact on the public. We use data from two major news outlets, BBC and New York Times, where the number of user comments can be used as a proxy of news impact. We find that the impact dynamics of online news articles does not exhibit popularity patterns found in many other social and information systems. In particular, we find that a simple exponential distribution yields a better fit to the empirical news impact distributions than a power-law distribution. This observation is explained by the lack or limited influence of the otherwise omnipresent rich-get-richer mechanism in the analyzed data. The temporal dynamics of the news impact exhibits a universal exponential decay which allows us to collapse individual news trajectories into an elementary single curve. We also show how daily variations of user activity directly influence the dynamics of the article impact. Our findings challenge the universal applicability of popularity dynamics patterns found in other social contexts.
Free access at DOI
Digital Object Identifier 10.1007/s42001-021-00140-w
Other Identification Number merlin-id:21508
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