A general change eclipses the oil spill


The unusual convergence of the White House, two generals and Rolling Stone Magazine fueled the rise of the Afghanistan story over the dominant-of-late oil spill saga during the week of 6/21-27/10, according to the latest reading from the Project for Excellence in Journalism. But it was close. Among all media, it was Afghanistan 25%, oil spill 23%.

Only two other stories rose above the fray to hit the 5% level. That score was registered by the 2010 elections, the week’s #4 story. It was three points behind the 8% notched by coverage of the World Cup.

Network and cable television journalists continued to see the travails of the BP oil rig as the #1 story, and newspaper put them both at 19%, but Afghanistan – fueled by the firing of Gen. Stanley McChrystal – had a 6% margin online and a wide 18% margin on radio.

A very wide variety of stories divvied up the remaining time and space, none of which could muster more than a 2% showing in total news media coverage.

Story Overall Newspaper Online NetTV CATV Radio
Afghanistan 25% 19% 21% 22% 31% 35%
Oil spill 23% 19% 15% 27% 34% 17%
Economic crisis 8% 12% 12% 3% 7% 5%
2010 elections 5% 7% 3% 3% 2% 5%
World Cup 2% 4% x 3% x x
Times Sq. bomb plot 2% 3% x 4% 1% x
Russia 2% x x x 6% x
Pakistan 2% 3% 3% x x 2%
Immigration debate 2% x 2% x 4% 1%
Kagan nomination 2% 5% x x x x
China x 2% x x x x
Education system x 2% x x x x
Apple news x x 4% x x x
Domestic terrorism x x 3% x x 2%
Michael Jackson x x 3% x x x
Natalee Holloway x x x 4% x x
Supreme Court actions x x x 3% x x
Flagstaff AZ fire x x x 2% x x
SE Tennessee floods x x x 2% x x
Obama administration x x x x 3% 2%
Mexican drug war x x x x 1% 2%
Marijuana legalization x x x x 1% x
Blagojevich scandal x x x x x 1%
Source: Project for Excellence in Journalism