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