Libya Supplants Japan Atop News Coverage: PEJ


News organizations continued their two-front coverage last week of the crisis in the Middle East and the crisis in Japan, with the pendulum swinging back toward the former with the announcement of the no-fly zone in Libya.

That is according to the latest Project for Excellence in Journalism's News Coverage Index. For the week of March 14-20, Japan's nuclear drama continued to dominate, accounting for 57% of the coverage, with only 17% to Middle East unrest. But after Thursday's announcement of the UN no-fly-zone decision, then the coalition attacks on missile defense systems in the country, the balance shifted from two-thirds of the news hole focused on Japan to the majority on Libya.

That makes seven of the past eight weeks that international stores -- Middle East or Japan -- have commanded the majority of U.S. news coverage. But by Sunday, the Japan story "seemed almost like an afterthought," said PEJ.

According to the converge timeline, Japan coverage was north of 60% of the news hole on March 14, while middle East unrest was under 10%. By Friday, Japan coverage was heading south of 40%, while the Middle East coverage had crossed it on the graph and was headed above 40%.

The News Coverage Index looks at stories from 52 different outlets from five national media sectors: network TV, cable, online, radio and print. It does not include local TV or radio news due to the difficulties of collecting and coding it.