PEJ News Coverage Index: June 8 - 14, 2009, No Story Dominates, but Iran Fascinates

  • June 16, 2009

In a crowded and diverse news week, the economic crisis was the No. 1 subject, even as it generated the lowest weekly coverage for any lead story since 2007. 

But it was the election in Iran that drove narrative late last week. And as the country continued to split over the disputed voting results, it set the stage to possibly emerge as the next international mega-story.

The numbers also cast into striking relief the degree to which Iran barely registers otherwise on the media radar screen, despite the political rhetoric involving the nation that once held Americans hostage and played a key role in the history of Islamic fundamentalism. 

From June 8-14, the U.S. financial crisis accounted for 13% of the newshole, according to the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism. That marks the first time in 20 months that the leading story for a week generated so little attention. The last time it occurred was the week of October 14-19, 2007, when the still-young presidential campaign was the top story, but filled only 11% of the newshole.

The second-biggest story last week was a dramatic event that tapped into a larger ideological issue, according to PEJ's weekly News Coverage Index. The June 10 shooting at the Holocaust museum, allegedly by a white supremacist, accounted for 11% of the coverage. It also re-ignited a debate about a Homeland Security warning of a possible spike in right-wing extremism. 

Read the full report No Story Dominates, but Iran Fascinates on the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism Web site.