Oil rig dominates coverage during the last week of May


The fact that there is an oil rig crisis in the Gulf of Mexico is nothing new, but fresh coverage of the ongoing attempts to stem the flow of oil into the ecosystem became a dominant story during the week of 5/24-30/10, according to the Project for Excellence in Journalism. The story claimed 38% of the newshole, dwarfing the attention levels afforded to other stories.

The primary season is heating up (some weeks have been hotter than others), and it was the only other story to make it into double digits. It just barely made it with a flat 10%.

The economic crisis (6%) and the immigration debate (5%) were the only other stories to get beyond the 3% level. As is often the case where coverage is dominated by a small number of stories, a wide variety of other narratives showed up on the top ten lists of the five media categories, but did not amass enough cross-media attention to make the overall top ten list.


Story Overall Newspaper Online NetTV CATV Radio
Oil rig explosion 38% 26% 26% 50% 57% 32%
2010 elections 10% 10% 6% 1% 14% 22%
Economic crisis 6% 11% 5% 3% 1% 9%
Immigration debate 5% 4% 6% 5% 5% 5%
North Korea 3% 3% 8% 1% 1% x
Afghanistan 2% 5% 3% 2% x 2%
Gays in the military 2% x 2% 3% 4% x
Domestic terrorism 1% x x x 3% x
Gary Coleman dies 1% x 4% 1% x x
Education system 1% x 3% x 1% x
Kagan nomination x 3% x x x x
Pollution/emissions x 2% x x x x
Cyberspace issues x 2% x x x 1%
2010 World Cup x 2% x x x x
Iran x x 3% x x x
Memorial Day x x x 2% x x
WV mine disaster x x x 2% x x
Taxes x x x x 1% x
Obama administration x x x x 1% x
Haiti earthquake x x x x x 2%
War on Terror x x x x x 2%
Apple news x x x x x 2%
Sarah Palin x x x x x 2%
Source: Project for Excellence in Journalism