TV Drills Down On Spill


The ongoing oil spill disaster in the Gulf dominated Project for Excellence in Journalism news index for the week
of May 24-30, claiming 38% of the news hole for PEJ's roster of measure media.

That was far more than the combination of  the next four biggest stories--elections (10%), the economy (6%), immigration (5%) and North Korea (3%).
In fact, the story was more dominant than at any time since it broke six weeks ago and drew more coverage than
any story since the March passage of the health care bill, according to PEJ's survey of 52 news organizations from print, online, network TV, cable and radio.
There was much new to report, including the "top kill" effort that failed to cap the spill and the president's
taking responsibility and stepping-up action and oversight, though the majority of the focus was on the
environmental impact and cleanup.
PEJ said TV was paying more attention to the spill than print, online or radio. Broadcast network newscasts
devoting 50% of their airtime to the story, while cable news channels spent even more time, at 57%. Some even began a countdown clock, similar to ABC's countdown during the Iran hostage crisis in 1979-81.
The top newsmakers of the week were the president with 11% of all stories, followed by Joe Sestak, who beat Arlen
Specter for the Democratic Senatorial primary in Pennsylvania (4%), and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (1%).