Oil rig disaster continues to dominate the news


The ongoing saga of Deepwater Horizon pulled a 34% share of all news coverage during the week of 6/7-13/10, according to the latest tally from the Project for Excellence in Journalism. Only the 2010 elections managed to join that tale in the double-digit column, pulling down a 12% share.

Online news sources actually had nine of the overall top ten on the medium’s individual top ten chart, although the order of coverage was completely idiosyncratic.

Radio was the oddball. It placed the elections as the number one story, beating out the oil spill by a 23%-17% margin. And another story – marijuana legalization – garnered 9% of radio’s newshole, despite the fact that it showed up on none of the other four lists at all.

Although the oil rig story was going to beat out the elections for the number one slot, it was a mortal lock given another week of saturation coverage on cable news source, where it gathered in 63% of all available newscasting time.

Story Overall Newspaper Online NetTV CATV Radio
Oil spill 34% 18% 26% 38% 63% 17%
2010 elections 12% 10% 5% 11% 16% 23%
Economic crisis 6% 11% 6% x 2% 7%
Afghanistan 4% 10% x 3% x 4%
Natalee Holloway 3% x 7% 4% 2% x
World Cup 3% 2% 4% 7% x 4%
Iran 3% x 7% 3% x x
Abby Sunderland 2% x 4% 5% x x
Domestic terrorism 2% 4% 4% x 1% x
Israel-Palestine 2% 2% 5% x 1% x
Education system x 5% x x x x
Cyberspace issues x 3% x x x x
China x 3% x x x x
Tea Party movement x x 3% x x x
Health care debate x x x 2% x 3%
Ohio tornadoes x x x 2% x x
Arkansas flood x x x 1% 2% x
Immigration debate x x x x 2% x
Helen Thomas x x x x 1% x
Obama administration x x x x 1% x
Marijuana legalization x x x x x 9%
North Korea x x x x x 4%
Catholic abuse scandal x x x x x 3%
Kagan nomination x x x x x 3%
Source: Project for Excellence in Journalism