Last week’s news landscape was a tale of two stories—one much-anticipated event in Washington and an unexpected drama unfolding about 6,000 miles away. In the first part of last week, the media focused on President Obama’s January 25 State of the Union speech. In the latter half, Egyptian protests that began to look like a revolution dominated coverage, virtually drowning out the president’s emphasis on re-tooling the U.S. economy.
By the time it was over, events in the Middle East—most notably the Egyptian uprising against President Hosni Mubarak—was the No. 1 story from January 24-30. They accounted for 20% of the week’s coverage according to the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism. Coverage of the State of the Union speech, and the reaction to it, trailed closely behind, filling 17% of the coverage studied by PEJ’s weekly News Coverage Index.
That was not what President Obama had planned. In the first three days of the week, his address accounted for much more of the media narrative (28%) than it would by week’s end.
Read the full report, First a Speech, then an Uprising, Dominate the News, on the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism Web site.