Last week’s turmoil in the Middle East registered as the biggest international story in the past four years—surpassing any coverage of the Iraq war, the Haiti earthquake and the conflict in Afghanistan.
From January 31-February 6, the Mideast saga, driven by televised images of the protests and power struggle in Egypt, filled 56% of the newshole studied by the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism. Not only was that easily the biggest overseas story in a single week since PEJ began its News Coverage Index in January 2007. It registered as the fourth-biggest story of any kind—trailing only two weeks in the 2008 presidential campaign and the aftermath of the January 8, 2011 Tucson shooting spree.
Until now, the biggest international story of any single week (43%) was the Iraq war from September 9-14, 2007. And most of that was driven by the domestic policy debate over the war—including General David Petraeus’ progress report to Congress and a speech by President George W. Bush. The Haiti earthquake that killed as many as an estimated quarter million people filled 41% of the newshole from January 11-17, 2010.
Read the full report, Events in Egypt Trigger Record Coverage, on the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism Web site.