Election coverage plateaus


The primaries remain in the midst of a lull, with a big one in Pennsylvania still a few weeks off, and while the lull was not nearly enough to flush election coverage off the top of the Project for Excellence in Journalism media coverage chart for the week of 3/31/08-4/6/08, it did subdue it to the point where it didn’t quite eat up a third of the overall newshole, at 32%, down from 34% the week prior.

The biggest news about news would seem to be that the economy regained its #2 ranking despite the imminent appearance of Gen. David Petraeus on Capitol Hill. The last time the General was in Washington that was all anybody seemed to be able to talk about, but the Iraq category most relevant to the General’s visit, the Iraq policy debate, didn’t even make any of the media subterranean lists, much less crack the overall top ten.

The supremacy of the campaign story was not universal, either. Newspapers ranked the economy higher than the campaign, and online journalists gave each at 14% share, but the campaign focus of cable and, to a lesser extent, radio, fueled its continued dominance of the top spot on the overall chart.

Story Overall Newspr Online NetTV CATV Radio
2008 campaign 32% 13% 14% 26% 62% 46%
US economy 9% 14% 14% 10% 3% 4%
Iraq events 5% 9% 8% x x 3%
Zimbabwe elections 3% 4% 11% 2% x x
MLK anniversary 3% x 5% 6% 1% 4%
Plane safety 3% 2% 2% 4% 2% 3%
Bush trip to Europe 2% x 10% x 1% x
Domestic terrorisn 2% 3% x x 2% 3%
Fed regulatory changes 2% x x 5% 2% 2%
Iraq homefront 2% 4% x x 1% x
Charlton Heston passes x 3% x x x x
Olympics x 3% x x x x
Immigration x 2% x x 2% x
Russia x x 3% x x x
China x x 2% x x 14%
Gas/oil prices x x 1% 2% 1% x
Heart disease research x x x 3% x x
Bear Stearns/JP Morgan x x x 2% x x
Afghanistan x x x 2% x x
Global warming x x x x x 2%
War on terror x x x x x 2%

Source: Project for Excellence in Journalism