PEJ News Coverage Index: Mar. 30 - Apr. 5, 2009, Overseas and at Home, Economic Fears Dominate

  • April 08, 2009

With world leaders gathered in London last week, a financial crisis that had largely been covered through a domestic prism expanded to a global narrative.

The G-20 Summit and Obama's European trip was the No. 1 story from March 30-April 5, filling 21% of the newshole measured by Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism. The U.S. economic crisis was close behind, at 19% of the space in print and online and time on television and radio. This marked the first time since inauguration week that the financial turmoil in the U. S. was not the week's top story, according to PEJ's weekly News Coverage Index. (It was the leading story in the newspaper, online and radio sectors. But the summitry, staffed by the three network anchors and replete with TV-friendly visuals, was the No. 1 story on cable and network news.)

Although the center of attention shifted from the U.S. to the U.K last week, the basic storyline did not really change. About half the European trip coverage focused on economic issues. Combine that with the domestic economy story and coverage of the automotive industry (the No. 3 story at 13%) and economic-related themes still accounted for 42% of all news coverage studied last week. 

In the early part of the week, the turmoil in Detroit was the dominant story line, thanks to the Obama Administration's dramatic move to force the resignation of General Motors Chief Executive Rick Wagoner and its indication that so far, GM's and Chrysler's restructuring plans were insufficient. But as time went on, the President's first overseas journey commandeered the media agenda.

Read the full report Overseas and at Home, Economic Fears Dominate on the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism Web site.