Bloomberg has an alert for news stories that go viral on the Terminal.
It’s called Readspike and it’s sent when a large number of people click on a story within a short window of time after publication.
Looking at a chart of history over the past decade you can see something has clearly changed and it changed during Covid.
The weekly volumes of Readspikes have more than tripled and remained elevated compared with the previous eight years without a change to the algorithm.
Readspikes were created about 2006. Brian Rooney, then head of News Product, wanted to capture the feeling on trading desks when a headline appeared that caused an audible gasp.
For more than a decade the average number of Readspikes kept within a narrow, predictable range.
Now, we are living in a bull market for news, a world of headline volatility.
A large amount of the increase in attention to news over the past two years can be attributed to the pandemic and Donald Trump.
The increase in stories getting Readspikes shows that not only are there more big breaking stories, but also people are reading them faster.
I think this phenomenon may be happening everywhere.
I have a group of high school friends in a text message group. When we started years ago, I would often be the first to alert them to big events. Not a surprise, since I work at a media company.
Increasingly, they know about the latest Supreme Court nominee, tornado in Texas or conflict in the Ukraine faster than I do.
What’s changed is not just the breadth of their awareness, but the speed.