Stuff Happened In August, According To Math

09/01/2011 03:14 pm ET | Updated Nov 01, 2011

Most reporters within the Beltway Bubble regard August as a thirty-one day period of "dog days" downtime, in which not a lot of Stuff Happens. "Slow news month," they quip. Well this August turns out to have been different. "Yeah, we're going to happen in August this year," said Stuff. And thanks to some math, we can prove the fact that a lot of actual news happened in the past thirty days.

Zachary Seward, over at the Wall Street Journal's Speakeasy blog, explains:

Factiva, which is owned by our parent company Dow Jones, indexes news articles from thousands of sources. We looked at the number of articles in Factiva’s database that were published each August for the past decade. And because the total number of articles indexed by Factiva grows each year, we adjusted the results to reflect unusual growth.

It turns out that 7.85% more news was published in August than would normally be expected, the largest such jump over the past ten years. The only other August that comes close was in 2004, which saw a 5.37% increase in August news ahead of the presidential election.

It not as if past Augusts were bereft of important storylines. Last August, we were in the run-up to the 2010 elections, and the year before that was the August of the Health Care Town Halls. But as Seward notes, this year's swell of news is attributed to uniquely compelling, black swan-ish events -- like the London riots, the wild swings of the market, the rebellion in Libya, and last week's earthquake/hurricane combo.

It stands to reason that the world would be a better place without war, riots, natural disasters, and trauma-inducing volatility in the financial markets. Still, all of these events robbed the media of the opportunity to, say, elevate a penny-ante Islamophobic nutjob preacher to national prominence. So, small victories.

Go read the whole thing:
Yes, August Really Was a Huge News Month [Speakeasy]

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