I am so excited to announce that I have been working on a new research project analyzing the online coverage of celebrity and sports figures who've reportedly experienced domestic violence. While a lot of the sampling details have yet to be worked out, I've been geeking out on this topic and just had to share. One of the most interesting things I've discovered so far is by using Google Trends. It shows you the interest over time of a certain word or phrase. I plugged in "celebrity domestic violence", and not surprisingly, this phrase peaked in search volume in 2009. Have a guess on what was happening then? The infamous reporting of Chris Brown assaulting Rihanna. The peak is correlated to the month (February) of the incident.
Now, I know people wouldn't normally use this term to search for a particular celebrity in the news for a domestic violence incident, say Charlie Sheen (likely search would be Charlie Sheen and domestic violence By the way, when I did that, this great commentary was the number one result). However, I think I can make the case that it may speak to an increase in interest in the overall trend in domestic violence and famous couples' relationships.
As I work on this project, I'll post updates along the way!