Broad news palette for news directors


The 2012 presidential election was the top news story for the week of 5/21-27, according to the Project for Excellence in Journalism, in part because there were numerous stories on the table sharing coverage, and in part because that particular story is endlessly fascinating to the folks at cable new operations.

The election narrative grabbed 19% of the total newshole, fueled by getting 45% of cable’s available time. Two flops tied for 2nd on the overall chart – the flopping economy and the flopping Facebook IPO.

Each of the five media followed by PEJ gave significant coverage to at least one story that failed to make any other top ten list. The newspaper list included stories on education, China and airlines; online sources alone focused on energy; broadcast news revisited the Joplin tornado; cable looked at terror; and radio homed in on the Scott Walker recall and the debate over the Iraq War.

Story Overall Nwspr Online NetTV CATV Radio
2012 presidential election 19% 6% 12% 9% 45% 25%
Economy 6% 9% 7% x 4% 10%
Facebook news 6% 8% 8% 5% 3% 3%
Middle East unrest 5% x 8% 4% 4% 6%
Iran 5% 5% 8% x 3% 3%
Etan Patz cold case 3% x 3% 8% 3% x
SpaceX rocket launch 3% x x 5% 2% 5%
NATO summit 2% 4% x x x 5%
Osama bin Laden killed 2% x 2% 3% 2% x
Tyler Clementi suicide 2% x 4% 2% x x
Education system x 8% x x x x
China x 5% x x x x
European economy x 5% 2% x x x
US airline industry x 4% x x x x
Health care debate x 3% x x x 3%
Energy debate x x 5% x x x
Joplin tornado x x x 5% x x
Afghanistan x x x 4% x x
Nuclear policy issues x x x 2% x x
Terror threats/security x x x x 3% x
Abortion controversy x x x x 2% x
Scott Walker recall x x x x x 8%
Iraq War policy debate x x x x x 4%
Source: Project for Excellence in Journalism