Economy rules the news, with wildcards filling the margins


All five of the media followed by the Project for Excellence in Journalism agreed that the economic crisis was by far the number one story for the week of 4/19-26/10. The air-traffic-thwarting Iceland volcano was strongly in second place, and the Gulf of Mexico oil rig explosion took third. After that, it was pretty much every medium for itself.

Actions by the state government in Arizona brought a brand new focus to the immigration debate, especially among cable news sources. Immigration was the #4 story overall.

Radio sources demonstrated unusually high interest in the Tea Party movement. And newspapers were alone in putting the spotlight on the educational system. And each medium gravitated to stories that were pretty much ignored or at least de-emphasized by the others.

The #5 story for the week will be the one that will eventually dominate all five categories, in our estimation. We refer of course to the 2010 elections.

Story Overall Newspaper Online NetTV CATV Radio
Economic crisis 27% 31% 25% 24% 28% 26%
Iceland volcano 11% 9% 14% 21% 4% 8%
Oil rig explosion 5% x 6% 9% 5% x
Immigration debate 4% x x 2% 14% 3%
2010 elections 3% 5% x x 5% 2%
Tea Party movement 3% x x x 6% 9%
Events in Iraq 2% 4% 2% x 2% x
Education system 2% 7% x x x x
Supreme Court actions 2% 2% 2% 3% x x
WV mine disaster 2% x 4% x x x
Iraq War homefront x 3% x x x x
Energy debate x 2% x x x x
Pakistan x 2% 2% x x x
Domestic terrorism x 2% x 3% x 4%
Ben Roethlisberger x x 3% x x x
Iran x x 3% x x x
Pollution/emissions/going green x x 2% x x x
Haiti earthquake x x x 4% x x
Catholic abuse scandal x x x 3% x 3%
Sarah Palin x x x 3% x x
US auto industry x x x 2% x x
Health care debate x x x x 2% x
Obama administration x x x x 2% 3%
Blagojevich scandal x x x x 2% x
Justice Stevens retires x x x x x 4%
Afghanistan x x x x x 3%

Source: Project for Excellence in Journalism