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James Webb Space Telescope - Narrative Intelligence

July 12, 2022Evan Robert
Photo: NASA, ESA, CSA, and STScl

Move over, Hubble – there's a new telescope in space.

NASA released its preliminary photos of the "deepest images yet taken of our universe" courtesy of the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), which launched in December of 2021. In an era of uncertainty, this scientific development serves as a reminder of our place in the stars, and possibly as a window into our very origins. This narrative intelligence brief analyzes the media's coverage of the JWST, who's talking about it the most, and how individual articles contribute to the narrative as a whole.

Within the past three days, U.S. media has shared 484 unique narratives surrounding the JWST. CNET, CNN, and The Hill are the top individual outlets amplifying respectively, with CNET alone releasing 18 articles related to the telescope. Unsurprisingly, many tech-centric news companies like TechCrunch and The Verge have taken a fascination with the new images being released.

Top keywords from news coverage reveals news media's emphasis on the telescope's unprecedented capabilities. "Deep field image", "distant galaxies", and "extremely distant" all praise the JWST advanced imaging technology, which, among several improvements, provides images up to 100x clearer than Hubble's.

Amplifying sources by bias

No narrative is without a political bent, however. Left-leaning outlets covered the JWST announcement over 3x more than right-leaning outlets. Many left-leaning articles emphasized the President Biden's involvement– his namesake was mentioned 150 times in association with the JWST. On the right side, many conservative outlets have been critical of the JWST being over budget, as the telescope's mission has cost over $10 billion.

Politics aside, the main narrative surrounding the JWST is focused on the possibilities it has for better understanding our universe. The advanced infrared imaging will allow scientists to go delve further into space and, consequently, gain a deeper understanding of the history of the universe.

While the images have taken U.S. media by storm, the narratives surrounding this telescope are just beginning. Major scientific breakthroughs are sure to follow. As they do, this narrative intelligence brief will automatically update with new stories, trends, and more:

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