PEJ News Coverage Index: May 3 - 9, 2010, A Failed Terror Attack Tops a Grim Week of News

  • May 11, 2010

In a week dominated by disasters and near disasters, the New York bomb plot led the news, registering as the biggest terrorism story in the past three years. 

From May 3-9, the failed attack in the heart of Manhattan accounted for 25% of the newshole, according to the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism.

The media narrative on the plot was fueled by a series of quickly unfolding events including the arrest of suspect Faisal Shahzad and evidence apparently linking the Pakistani Taliban to the attempted attack in America's largest city.

But the bomb plot was only part of a week filled with ominous events. The No. 2 story, at 20%, was the crisis in the Gulf of Mexico where oil continued to leak in the wake of the April 20 rig explosion. Last week, coverage began to touch on areas of politics and policy—including the culpability of the BP energy company and the potential impact on prospects for offshore drilling.

The week's third-biggest story (13%) was the economy. Here too, coverage was fueled by a near cataclysmic event. On May 6, the Dow briefly fell 1,000 points before rebounding to recoup about two-thirds of that loss. While investigators focused on whether trading or computer errors contributed to the plunge, investors were clearly worried about the European debt crisis.

Read the full report A Failed Terror Attack Tops a Grim Week of News on the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism Web site.