PEJ News Coverage Index: January 17-23, 2011. The Tucson Story Fades, but Still Leads

Jan 25, 2011

The fallout from the Arizona shooting spree continued to lead the news agenda last week, though the level of coverage dropped significantly and the media narrative narrowed.

From January 17-23, the rampage that killed six and wounded Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and 12 others filled 17% of the newshole studied by the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism. That is down more than two-thirds from the 57% the story generated the previous week when the country was still reeling from the shock of events, according to PEJ’s weekly News Coverage Index.

Even so, that decline in week-to-week coverage was not as large as it has been with some other major news events. The mass shooting that claimed 32 victims at Virginia Tech in April 2007, for example, accounted for 51% of the newshole in the first week and plunged to only 7% the next. One reason the Tucson story may be more lasting is the recovery of Giffords herself. Another may be that the incident has triggered a discussion about the tone of public discourse—a debate political pundits are eager to have.

Read the full report, The Tucson Story Fades, but Still Leads, on the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism Web site.

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