PEJ News Coverage Index: Feb. 1 - 7, 2010, With Budget as Backdrop, Economy Leads the News

  • February 10, 2010

For the first time in nearly two months, coverage of the U.S economy led the weekly news agenda, according to the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism.

During the week of February 1-7, the state of the economy accounted for 21% of the overall newshole, as measured by PEJ's weekly News Coverage Index, driven to a significant extent by President Obama's release of his $3.8 trillion budget. That marks a modest increase over the previous week when the economy accounted for 18% of the coverage. But it represents the first time since December 7-13—when the President delivered a major address on job creation—that the country's financial health was the No. 1 story in the media.

The No. 2 story, at 11% of the newshole, was the mounting set of problems besetting Toyota Corporation—whose president apologized last week. Coverage of the Toyota mess generated almost three times the coverage of the previous week.

The aftermath of the earthquake in Haiti was the No. 3 story, at 8%, remaining on the roster of top-five stories nearly four weeks after the disaster occurred. Last week, however, a good deal of that coverage was narrowly focused on a group of U.S. missionaries charged with illegally trying to take Haitian children out of that country.

Read the full report With Budget as Backdrop, Economy Leads the News on the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism Web site.