Fun with Google Alerts

After hearing about the coup in sounds-like-Nigeria Niger last Thursday morning, I decided to run a little experiment to see how many mainstream media sources would report a coup in totally-different-country-from-Niger Nigeria. I set up a Google Alert for “coup Nigeria” and waited to see how many hits it would return.

I was a little disappointed when the answer turned out to be only two* by the end of the day on Friday: Radio Netherlands with an article titled “Nigerian president held after coup” which began “In Nigeria, President Mamadou Tandja and his cabinet are being held prisoner by soldiers after a coup d’état” and Foreign Policy‘s The Cable, reporting “There was a coup in Nigeria, but Congressman Mark Grayson, who happened to be there, is safe.”

TexasinAfrica, who provides some useful background on the coup here, pointed out that the media probably got most of its Niger/Nigeria confusion out of its system during that whole yellowcake uranium fiasco, so I wasn’t too surprised when no more hits appeared.

But then I heard that oil prices rose to almost $80/barrel when the news of the coup first broke. Niger has no oil, but I think we all know which similar-sounding neighboring nation has tons.

*Google Alerts missed “Rebels seize president, power in Nigeria” from The Courier-Mail, probably on account of Australian-ness.

Kate Cronin-Furman

One Comment

  1. Really? Foreign Policy? Sigh. I'm disappointed. One, that they made the mistake and two, that they fixed it without acknowledging that they made an error originally. That seems unfair.

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