PEJ News Coverage Index: January 10-16, 2011. A Special Report on the Media and the Tucson Shooting

Jan 19, 2011

The aftermath of the January 8 shooting spree in Tucson dominated the American news media last week in a way events rarely do: the tragedy registered as the third-biggest story in a single week since PEJ began tracking coverage in January 2007.

From January10-16, the rampage that killed six and badly wounded Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords accounted for 57% of the news coverage studied by the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism. In the past four years, only two stories—both about the 2008 election—generated more attention. The first was the nomination of Barack Obama and John McCain’s surprise selection of running mate Sarah Palin (69% from August 25-September 1). The second was the following week, September 1-7, when the Republicans held their national convention (58%).

Aside from the sheer volume of media attention, what have the traumatic events in Tucson meant, as transmitted in the media narrative? This special report, combining PEJ’s weekly News Coverage Index with social media analysis technology from Crimson Hexagon, finds several key elements emerging.

Read the full report A Special Report on the Media and the Tucson Shooting on the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism Web site.

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