Washington -- Alleged sexual harassment and alleged sexual
abuse of children were the two top news stories for the Nov, 7-13 survey
period, according to the latest Project for Excellence in Journalism News
The 2012 presidential election was the top story, comprising
24% of the "news hole" of the national news organizations surveyed. Coverage
was driven not by the latest Republican debate -- or debate gaffe -- but by the
allegations of sexual harassment against GOP front-runner Herman Cain.
The allegations, which Cain has flatly denied, accounted for
more than half of all campaign coverage. Cable networks provided the most
coverage, using 39% of their news hole.
The second-biggest story was the sex-abuse scandal that has
roiled the Penn State University football team and former defensive coordinator
Jerry Sandusky, who has also denied those charges. The Penn State story --
which led to the dismissal of legendary football coach Joe Paterno and University
president Graham Spanier -- was the biggest sports-related scandal, in terms of
coverage, since PEJ launched its index in 2007.
Broadcast networks gave 24% of their news hole to the Penn
State story, with cable news next at 23%.
The third biggest story of the week was the economic crisis
in Europe (13%) and the announced resignation of Italian Prime Minister Silvio
Berlusconi, ahead of the U.S. economy, which was the No. 4 story comprising g
8% of the news hole, its smallest percentage since August.
Coverage of the
November elections was the fifth biggest story at 7%, with particular attention
on an Ohio vote to strike down a measure limiting unions and a Mississippi vote
not to declare a fertilized egg a person.
PEJ surveyed 52 national news outlets in online, network TV,
cable, radio and print.