Welcome to this week’s edition of The Labs Report, your one-stop, data-driven shop to quickly get up to speed on the most important and influential stories of the week.

Here’s what was trending on Twitter from September 12th to September 18th, 2019.

The Five Most-Talked-About News Stories of the Week 

  1. Brett Kavanaugh Fit In With the Privileged Kids. She Did Not. | The New York Times
  2. Turns out famed skeletons of ‘Lovers of Modena’ were both dudes | The New York Post 
  3. Cops shut down massive 3,000-person game of hide-and-seek at Ikea | The New York Post
  4. US attorney recommends proceeding with charges against McCabe, as DOJ rejects last-ditch appeal | Fox News
  5. 8 Years of Trump Tax Returns Are Subpoenaed by Manhattan D.A. | The New York Times

It was a big week for New York-based media, with all five of the most-talked-about stories coming from Manhattan-based outlets. The New York Times and New York Post each took two of the top spots, with Fox News filling out the lineup.

In terms of content, you couldn’t hope for a better example of the difference in coverage styles between broadsheets and tabloids than by comparing the Times’ and Post’s stories. 

Over at the Times, we’ve got two stories with potentially dire consequences for a Supreme Court justice and the Trump administration. At the Post, meanwhile, it’s breaking news about a couple of 1,600-year-old skeletons, and a game of hide and seek that didn’t actually happen.

Not to be outdone, Fox News enjoyed a rare appearance in our most-talked-about stories list with a story that also has potentially damaging consequences for a government official – albeit not one from the current administration. 

The 10 Most Used Hashtags of the Week

  1. #FoxNews
  2. #DemDebate
  3. #ImpeachKavanaugh
  4. #MoscowMitch
  5. #Trump
  6. #USMCA
  7. #MAGA
  8. #KavanaughLied
  9. #Kavanaugh
  10. #Iran

We’re not saying that last Thursday’s Democratic Debate was overshadowed by subsequent events, but with just one mention in the top 10 hashtags with #DemDebate, it clearly wasn’t an event that enjoyed lasting staying power.

Of course, that might have changed if The New York Times had dropped its article on Brett Kavanaugh just a couple of days earlier. Had it come up as a subject at the debate, the combined light and heat generated by candidates talking about it might have broken Twitter altogether. As it stands, however, the Kavanaugh article had enough in it to give rise to three of the top ten hashtags all by itself. 

Meanwhile, #USMCA and #Iran were also trending, referencing the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (a newly renegotiated NAFTA agreement currently with Congress) and the alleged Iranian drone attacks on Saudi Arabian oil infrastructure.

The Five Most Shared Tweets of the Week

The top three tweets this week also happen to be responses to the top three stories, albeit in a slightly different order. First up, we have a pair of pithy responses to The New York Post’s two stories about an aborted hide and seek game at IKEA, and what Twitter user @AlannaBennett describes as “gay skeleton boyfriends”.

Elsewhere, Ronan Farrow proved that his individual appeal outstrips that of entire media organizations by getting more retweets and likes for his relatively straightforward take on The New York Times’ Kavanaugh article than the paper of record got for its own tweet. 

Finally, our last two tweets brought our attention to a pair of stories that hadn’t otherwise registered this week.

1. “Fun” and “IKEA visit”: destined never to meet

2. Halloween comes early

*Potentially offensive language is blurred in this tweet.

3. Ronan Farrow amplifies the NYT’s reporting

4. Changing perspective on scholarship offers

5. This tweet: big in Thailand

Want more data-driven insights while you wait for next week’s edition of The Labs Report? Read our debrief blog on last week’s Democratic debate, check out our data-driven analysis of the new partnership between the NFL and Reddit, or read our Story of a Hashtag blog post to learn more about the rise of #MoscowMitch.

Be sure to also visit our Resource Center and get in touch with our team to find out more about how Zignal Labs can help you build and protect your brand.

Methodology: The data which drives this series, provided by the Zignal Labs platform, is informed by a 10% sampling of Twitter activity around news stories published from September 12th to September 18th, 2019. Stories are published by 25 of the most highly-read publications across the country (based on circulation data), including: ABC News, Bloomberg, The Boston Globe, CBS News, The Chicago Tribune, CNN, The Dallas Morning News, The Denver Post, Fox News, The Houston Chronicle, Huffington Post, The LA Times, MSNBC, NBC News, The New York Daily News, The New York Post, The New York Times, Newsday, Reuters, The Seattle Times, The Star Tribune, The Tampa Bay News, USA Today, The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post.
The “Top 5 Most-Talked-About Stories of the Week” are the five stories from the above-mentioned publications that received the most mentions across Twitter from September 12th to September 18th, 2019, ranked by number of mentions from that date range.
The “Ten Most Used Hashtags of the Week “ are the ten hashtags that were mentioned the most on Twitter around Tweets related to news stories published by the above-mentioned publications from September 12th to September 18th, 2019, ranked by number of mentions from that date range.
The “Top Five Most Shared Tweets of the Week” are the five Tweets, related to news stories published by the above-mentioned publications from September 12th to September 18th, 2019, that received the most Retweets, ranked by number of Retweets from that date range.