Researchers studied the names mentioned in approximately 2,200 US daily newspapers, weeklies, and more infrequent periodicals over a period of several decades using Lydia, a research project in natural language processing (NLP) that reduces text streams to time-series data on the news volume associated with each news entity and their juxtapositions in sentences, articles, and newspapers with other news entities.
They discovered that, contrary to popular belief, most people who become truly famous in a given year, stay famous for decades—no matter what field they’re in, including sports, politics, and other domains.
“The notion that fame is fleeting, particularly in this day and age of democratic newsmaking by everyone for everyone, appears to be a common perception,” says Arnout van de Rijt, assistant professor at Stony Brook University. But,in a random sample of 100,000 names that appeared in the entertainment sections of more than 2,000 newspapers between 2004 and 2009, the 10 names that showed up most frequently all have been famous for at least a decade and all are still much talked about today.
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