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Explaining the Wellesley Sleepwalker’s over-the-top media coverage

Wellesley Sleepwalker

Sculpture magazine and the associated artdesigncafe.com website have meticulously sifted through 5,000+ articles and 800 TV broadcasts from around the world to sum up the media frenzy spawned by the arrival of Tony Matelli’s Sleepwalker statue on the Wellesley College campus in February:

“[T]he extensive media coverage compilation is a case study that shows an example of the current state of art in the age of mass/Internet media. In particular, the coverage shows how far and wide an art story can travel when journalistically packaged in a certain way and when pushed through various news distribution channels. Diverse photo-based and Internet-based video distribution— and social media— are key elements. 

Very kindly, the publications give us a nice amount of credit for breaking various elements of the story, including the student petition against the statue and the emergence of a Sleepwalker Twitter account.

The media frenzy didn’t begin until after word of the student petition started to spread— and Sleepwalker photographed vulnerably in the snow helped. Boston TV and newspapers were the first networked outlets to break the story, which quickly led to text, photos, and broadcast footage for national and international distribution. However, it was a local blog, The Swellesley Report, that first saw Sleepwalker’s media appeal on February 3, [and later announced] the student petition and the sculpture’s social media accounts.


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