When a friend in Honolulu told me she had received a copy of a news story I filed about Tony Blair’s candid remarks on Islam, it occurred to me to try and track the Internet mentions the story — or to be more precise, the two stories — got. Should be an interesting exercise, I thought.
All told, I filed four stories and a column on Monday, March 23. The first two (here and here) were “breaking news,” which I filed over lunch. The next two (main and sidebar) I filed around 6 or 7 pm, after I had turned my column in. (I had written most of the column the night before, but I ended up completely rewriting about three-fifths of it in the afternoon.)
I regret that I did not fully understand the context of Blair’s remarks, about the struggle for control within Islam. (He had made other, earlier, speeches.) But even if I had, I still think the remarks (“There is essentially one battle going on, and it is a battle about Islam”) would have struck me as news. That seems to be the consensus, too, of those who linked to or commented on the story.
Perhaps it is no surprise that the breaking-news version (the headline of which should really read “Battle for Islam heart of Mideast crisis,” not “on”) got more play. It went online about 12 hours or so before the version for the print edition. Excluding about four links in aggregators and about two in discussion forums, I found the following (my apologies for the perhaps inaccurate short hand):
There were, in addition, two more mentions or links I found.
The longer, more “reported” story (I had had time to listen again and again to parts of the audio recording I made, and was able to connect more of the dots in the notes I took) got fewer mentions. Again, without including general news aggregators and chat forums, I found the following:
PS. Friend and photo-blogger Hilda Kapauan Abola was at the late morning forum too. She has photos, and more links.