PEJ News Coverage Index: Feb. 8 - 14, 2010, Mother Nature Leads the News

  • February 17, 2010

Last week, as lawmakers skirmished over a jobs bill and sparred over the prospect of a health care summit, the biggest news in Washington—and in the nation—was the weather. And in D.C., even coverage of winter's wrath wasn't exempt from politics.  

From February 8-14, the powerful storms that belted the nation's Capitol particularly hard constituted the No. 1 story, filling 11% of the newshole, according to the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism. As is often the case, the dramatic weather was primarily a TV story, finishing first in two sectors—network news (19% of the airtime studied) and cable news (12%), according to PEJ's weekly News Coverage Index, a content analysis of some 52 different news outlets from the mainstream media.

Aside from basic snow-driven coverage of what Barack Obama called “Snowmaggedon,” the media examined angles ranging from questions about global warming to the taxpayer costs of shutting down the federal government.

Read the full report Mother Nature Leads the News on the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism Web site.