Gulf oil spill dominates news coverage again


For the second week in a row, news of the oil rig explosion made it into the 30s in the Project for Excellence in Journalism tally of news coverage for the week of 5/31/10-6/6/10. The 35% it pulled in easily eclipsed coverage of the Israel-Palestine conflict, which was the only other story to get into double digits with 13%.

The cable news channels gave in to their occasional penchant to go into blanket coverage of one topic, giving the oil spill 62% of its available time. Online sources were the least interested, putting the story in second to Israel-Palestine, but even there, it was just barely, losing to the Mid-East story by a scant 21%-20% margin.

Of all remaining topics of interest only three earned more than 2% of the newshole. They were the economic crisis (6%), the 2010 elections (5%) and Memorial Day (3%).

An umpire’s blown call which caused a pitcher to lose a perfect game bid put the topic of instant replay in baseball on the top ten list, and real news on the Natalee Holloway disappearance brought that story back to the top 10 as well.

The folks running radio news outlets took a special interest in the Al and Tipper Gore divorce announcement, devoting 5% of their time to it.

Story Overall Newspaper Online NetTV CATV Radio
Oil rig explosion 35% 24% 20% 49% 62% 20%
Israel-Palenstine 13% 8% 21% 11% 9% 14%
Economic crisis 6% 6% 7% 2% 2% 17%
2010 elections 5% 5% 3% x 8% 5%
Memorial Day 3% 4% 5% 3% 2% 2%
Immigration debate 2% 3% x x 5% 2%
Afghanistan 2% 5% 3% x x x
War on Terror 2% x 5% 2% x x
Natalee Holloway disappearance 2% x 3% 2% 1% x
Baseball instant replay debate 2% x 3% 2% x 2%
Education system x 5% x 2% x x
Health care debate x 4% x x x 3%
Cyberspace issues x 4% x x x x
Kagan nomination x x 2% x x x
Gore divorce x x x 2% x 5%
China x x x 2% x x
Pakistan x x x x 1% x
2012 presidential election x x x x 1% x
Supreme Court actions x x x x x 3%
Source: Project for Excellence in Journalism