Van Morrison – How the online media are reporting the story

by Stephen O'Leary on 04/01/10

It has been a busy couple of days for Van Morrison. On Tuesday, 29th December 2009, a story appeared on his official website announcing his joy at the birth of his son. News sources around the world reported details of the press release, which claimed Morrison’s ‘American manager’ had given birth to a baby boy on 28th December.

Sample Articles Reporting The Van Morrison Birth Story

It later transpired the story was a hoax, and the artist’s official website had been hacked.

The story was picked up quickly by all of the major news networks. Within 24 hours, RTE, BBC and various other news sources were reporting on the story. Indeed, some news sources are continuing to report the original story, unaware that it is in fact a hoax.

One of the reasons the story gathered so much momentum was that it took almost 48 hours for Morrison to respond to it – which he did on RTE News, the Irish National Broadcaster. The revised reports were also covered in detail by many of the same outlets:

Sample Articles Reporting Van Morrison Hoax

The story has resulted in a marked peak in press coverage online for Morrison. The graph below is a week by week breakdown of the coverage he has generated in news producing sources online over the past three months:

Week by Week Breakdown of Van Morrison Coverage for three months up to and including January 3rd 2010

When the last 10 days are taken in isolation, the peak in coverage becomes more noticeable:

Day by Day Breakdown of Van Morrison Coverage Over The Past 10 Days

Globally, the US was the leader in terms of reporting the story – with over half of the total global coverage emerging from United States based publications. Ireland ranked sixth, with 59 articles (and counting) already out there:

Country by Country Breakdown of Van Morrison Coverage Globally - December 25th 2009 to January 3rd 2010

This evening, several UK publications are hinting that the story has yet to run its course, and his Tour Manager, who did give birth to a baby in the last week, is expected to make an official statement in the coming days.

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