Midterms Dominate National Coverage: Pew Index


Coverage of the midterm congressional elections by the national media hit a high last week (Oct. 18-24), accounting for 38% of the news hole, up from 28% the week before.

That is according to the latest Pew Resarch Center Project for Excellence in Journalism News Coverage Index.
Number two in terms of coverage was the economy at 12% of the news hole. Coming in at number three (5%) was NPR's firing of Juan Williams, which became both a speech and financial debate as some Republicans renewed their periodic call to defund noncommercial radio and TV.

The Williams' news did not break until Oct. 20. From Oct. 21-24, it was the number two story with 13% of the coverage over that period.

The election, with Republicans expected to win back the House and key Senate races tightening, was the top story in all five media sectors measured by PEJ. Cable had the most coverage with over half its time (57%), followed by national radio at 52%, network TV at 33%, newpapers 28% and Web sites 23%.

The weekly NCI is a content analysis of about 1,000 stories on 52 national outlets across the five sectors of the media: print, online, network TV, cable and radio. The percentages are based on the space devoted to each subject in print and online and the time devoted on TV and radio. Local TV and radio station coverage is not included in the index.