PEJ News Coverage Index: Jan. 14 - 19, 2007, Nature, Crime, and Politics Challenge Iraq for News Dominance

  • January 23, 2007
  • By Mark Jurkowitz

The tale of two kidnapped teenagers, nature's assault on California's citrus crop, and another dose of “Obama-mania” competed with the Iraq crisis for the media's attention last week, according to the Project for Excellence in Journalism News Coverage Index.

In the week of January 14-19, 2007, when President Bush hit the interview circuit to sell the “surge” plan and the UN reported more than 34,000 Iraqi civilian deaths in the year past, the war was again the leading topic in the news. When combined, the policy debate (the top story at 14%) and violence in Iraq (the fourth-biggest story at 6%) filled one-fifth of the total newshole.

That, however, represented a 50% drop-off from the previous week when Iraq news virtually obscured every other event. (The drop-off would have been even greater were it not for television.)

Several breaking and unfolding stories helped fill that void. They were led by the rescued Missouri boys (second on the main Index at 8%), a saga the press explored both for the ostensibly happy ending and the unanswered and sordid questions.

Read the full article and view charts on the Project for Excellence in Journalism Web site.