Will Smith, Applebee’s workers, and oil reserves: Daily spotlights for the week of March 28th

April 1, 2022

Written by Haley Corzo

Welcome to the NewsWhip Daily spotlight round-up for the week of March 28th. This week, Will Smith dominates the news and Applebee’s deals with an employee crisis.

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Mar 28th: Elon Musk hints at new social media platform

In the last few days, Elon Musk has hinted that he might launch a new platform to combat what he sees as a lack of free speech on Twitter and other platforms.

Though there have only been 500 articles written, it has captured the imagination of a section of the public, with more than 335k interactions to the speculation so far.

interest to Elon Musk

The Daily Wire had the most engaged article about the potential move, with more than 150k engagements to their biggest piece. However, there were also articles in the likes of ReutersCNN, and others. 

Mar 29th: Will Smith dominates Oscars

Now that the coverage has settled down a little, and Smith has apologized, we wanted to look back at just how much Will Smith’s slap of Chris Rock dominated the Oscars discourse for the public. The chart below shows the slap charted against all Oscars coverage (including the slap), since March 27th in terms of public engagement.

chart of will smith

It’s immediately clear that it was the dominant narrative, but in terms of raw numbers the slap was responsible for 11.6 million out of the 19.1 million engagements the event drove in total, and there are clear peaks in the chart that show the event, the analysis, and the subsequent apology

Mar 30th: Leaked email causes Applebee’s workers to quit

Applebee’s found itself in hot water this week after Wayne Pankratz — a franchise executive in Kansas — sent an email saying higher gas prices were good because workers live paycheck to paycheck and it may give the restaurant an opportunity to start lowering wages.

interest to Applebees

This is an example of a story that went from local to national, and saw several peaks in engagement. The email was leaked to employees on Monday March 21st and the first news reports came out the following day without getting much attention. 

Mar 31st: FDA approves second booster

This week, the FDA approved a second Covid booster for those aged over 50 and the immunocompromised. This has led to significant levels of coverage, with more than 3.6k articles and 366k engagements in the last week.

interest to FDA

The approval moved quite quickly from when it was first rumored on March 26th to the approval itself on the 29th — the two peaks in interest in the chart above.

Where previous boosters have been met with resistance from some conservative publications, this time these were not the most engaged stories, as straight news and opinions praising the move received the most engagement.

Apr 1st: Biden to release oil reserves

Late on Wednesday night, Joe Biden announced that he was considering releasing some of the US’s strategic oil reserves to ease the market pressure caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. 

In an era of rising gas prices, this caused a surge in interest from the media and the public, first when it was posited and later when it was confirmed on the next day.

interest to Biden

There have been more than 5k articles written in the past two days about the move, with more than 425k interactions on those articles. 

The top stories have come from Business Insider focusing on the oil price drop and Fox Business talking about the plan in depth.

That’s all for this week, but don’t forget you can subscribe to the NewsWhip Daily to receive the top predicted stories of the morning and every spotlight delivered straight to your inbox.

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