December 29, 2008 / 4:25 PM / 12 years ago

Obama biggest news story since start of century: poll

NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - President-elect Barack Obama has eclipsed all other contenders to clinch the top news spot so far this century.

U.S. President-elect Barack Obama speaks at a news conference in Chicago December 18, 2008. REUTERS/Jeff Haynes

A worldwide media survey released on Monday shows that coverage around Obama’s successful bid to become the next American president was written about twice as often as any other news event since the turn of the century.

“Obama was unprecedented. He has captivated the world,” said Paul Payack, president of the Global Language Monitor, which conducted the survey.

The Texas-based firm analyses the global media to see who and what gets mentioned most among global print, electronic media and among blogs on the Internet.

Obama coverage eclipsed news stories about the Iraq war, the Beijing Olympics, the global economic crisis, hurricane Katrina, Pope John Paul II’s death, the September 11 attacks on New York and Washington D.C., and the tsunami in south Asia.

Obama had been written about roughly 250 million times, said Payack. Stories about all the other big news events this century have together generated about half that coverage, he added.

The Global Language Monitor started including blogs in its analysis five years ago. This type of coverage accounted for about a third of total Obama coverage, Payack said.

Obama also topped coverage in print and electronic media alone, according to the Global Language Monitor.

Coverage of Obama was far more frequent than election coverage in 2000 and 2004, added Payack.

“The magnitude surprised us. He had 750,000 citations before he was even nominated,” said Payack. “He was always a global story, including in community papers, unlike Hillary (Clinton) who was covered in top-tier media,” he added..

Clinton campaigned against Obama for the Democratic presidential nomination.

Reporting by Lilla Zuill; editing by Patricia Reaney

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