NEW YORK (HedgeWorld.com)–Almost 40,000 articles published in 2005 mentioned hedge funds, according to a report by Thomas Walek, president of Walek & Associates, a New York public relations firm.

This represented a 43% increase from 2004 and was more than six times the number of articles that mentioned hedge funds in 2000, on the basis of data from Factiva.

Of the 39,989 total in 2005, almost 10,000 appeared in 25 major publications and on news outlets, including Nikkei, Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal, Reuters and the South China Morning Post. Close to 11,000 of the articles contained the term “hedge fund” in the headline or first paragraph.

The number of hedge fund?? 1/2 related articles spiked in the second quarter of 2005, with 12,244 items. Mr. Walek points out that this coincided with a downturn in global equity markets and credit market jitters touched off by the downgrading of U.S. automakers.

“More than 100 times a day the world’s press writes about hedge funds and their influence and insights in M&A, corporate governance, trading, investing and other core areas of the global economy,” he said in a statement.

He suggested that hedge fund managers ignore the press at their peril and must take steps to control their own media exposure and make it work for them.

In the first couple of months of 2006 there’s already a big increase in hedge fund interactions with the media, he said.

CKurdas@HedgeWorld.com