PEJ News Coverage Index: Nov. 17 - 23, 2008, Cars and Appointments Dominate the News

  • November 25, 2008

Two questions drove last week's media coverage. First, should the government offer a financial bailout to the hurting American auto industry? Second, what do the appointments to his cabinet say about how President-elect Obama will govern?

Taken together, the country's financial crisis and the auto industry's troubles in particular amounted to the largest topic of media coverage for the week of Nov. 17 - 23. The transition plans for the new Obama administration followed, and together they accounted for more than half of the media's attention last week.

But while no other media stories came close to rivaling these major narratives, one new sensational storyline did emerge at the top of the media last week—Somali piracy. And two familiar plot lines returned to the media agenda, another dramatic round of California wildfires, and a milestone agreement reached by the Iraqi government that garnered relatively little media coverage.

These are among the findings of the News Coverage Index for Nov. 17 – 23, a weekly study of the media agenda from the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism.

Read the full report Cars and Appointments Dominate the News on the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism Web site.