Apple Top Focus of Media, Beating Google, Facebook: Pew Study

Apple is the most-covered tech company in the media, reports a new study from the Pew Research Center, beating out Google, Twitter, Facebook and Microsoft.

Apple is the most written-about company when it comes to media coverage, according to a new study from the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism.

Some 15.1 percent of the technology stories posted between June 2009 and June 2010 focused on Apple, versus 11.4 percent for Google, 7.1 percent for Twitter, 4.8 percent for Facebook and 3.0 percent for Microsoft. Other technology-industry stalwarts, including Yahoo and, received less than 1 percent of total coverage. RIM received 0.09 percent, placing it on the same level as AT&T and Comcast.

Apple stories also tended to be positive. "The media's take on Apple from June 2009 to June 2010 would make Steve Jobs proud," Pew's report reads. "More than 40 percent of the stories about Apple suggested that its products are innovative and superior in quality." By contrast, around 20 percent of Google's coverage slanted its products as "innovative and superior," and 25 percent "emphasized Google's help in navigating the Web by making content more searchable and easier to find."

Some 19 percent of the stories about Google focused on whether the search-engine giant held too much power and personal information. "Google was largely off the hook in the media's eyes, however, when it came to accusations that the company steals others' content, including the news media's," the report suggests. "This theme emerged in just 2 percent of the stories."

Overall, the study found tech's biggest story was compulsive texting while driving-roughly one in 10 stories-followed by the launch of Apple iPhones with 6.4 percent of total coverage. Various Apple topics combined for 14 percent of the media's total technology coverage. The Apple iPad accounted for 4.6 percent of those stories; Apple CEO Steve Jobs, 1.6 percent; and the Apple App Store, with 1.4 percent.

The duality between technology-as-potential-danger-such as texting while driving-and technology-as-savior-or at least something that makes life a little bit simpler-seemed to dominate the media's overall focus throughout the year.

"The most prevalent underlying message about technology's influence has been upbeat-the notion that technology is making life easier and more productive," reads the report's overview. "But that was closely followed by the sense that with that convenience comes risk-to our privacy and particularly to our children-which made up nearly two-in-ten stories."

The study drew its conclusions based on 437 technology stories that appeared in 52 different news outlets, including the front pages of 11 newspapers, 12 Websites, 10 radio programs and six television channels-three cable and three network news.

All of which leads to the inevitable question: Do stories about Apple's media coverage count as stories about Apple?