Election comes in a third


That’s not to say that Campaign 2008 came in third among news topics during the week of 3/24/08-3/30/08 on the latest Project for Excellence in Journalism media coverage chart. It’s just that it occupied only about a third of the newshole, a remarkable occurrence in a year when it frequently has hovered around or surpassed the 50% threshold. The news this week is that news organizations rediscovered the Iraq story, thanks to intramural fighting between rival Shia groups. Iraq dominated coverage throughout 2007 but has been the forgotten saga thus far, so its revival is the biggest story about covering stories. T

he sputtering US economy has laid a solid claim to #2 status throughout much of the first quarter of 2008, but the revival of newsworthy Iraq hostilities relegated it to #3 this time around. In fact, it was the Iraq events subcategory that took #2 with 12% of the newshole. Two other Iraq subcategories and the closely related Afghanistan story claimed three more top ten slots and 5% of the newshole, bringing total Mideast hotspot coverage up to 17%, exactly half of the total devoted to the election.

And in the newspaper sector, four Mideast substories trumped the campaign, 22% to 14%.

Story Overall Newspr Online NetTV CATV Radio
2008 campaign 34% 14% 22% 28% 62% 47%
Iraq events 12% 14% 20% 13% 6% 5%
US economy 7% 10% 3% 9% 4% 6%
China 3% 4% 5% 2% x 4%
Iraq policy 3% 2% 3% 5% 2% 3%
Detroit mayor troubles 2% 1% 2% 2% 2% x
Immigration 2% 3% x x 2% 2%
Plane inspections 1% x 2% 3% 1% x
Afghanistan 1% 4% x x x x
Iraq homefront 1% x x 2% 1% 4%
Health care debate x 2% x x x x
Pakistan x 2% x x x x
Olympics x x 5% x 1% x
Midwest storms x x 4% 2% x x
NCAA basketball x x 2% x x x
Global warming x x x 2% x x
Spitzer scandal x x x x 1% x
War on terror x x x x x 3%
Gas/oil prices x x x x x 2%
Bear Stearns/JP Morgan x x x x x 2%

Source: Project for Excellence in Journalism