PEJ News Coverage Index: March 21-27, 2011. Libya Dominates the News as U.S. Enters the War

Mar 29, 2011

Events occurring outside the borders of the United States led the news for the eighth time in a nine-week span that has tested the mettle of journalists and the resources of their newsrooms.

From March 21-27, the turmoil in the Middle East—particularly the entry of the U.S. and NATO military forces into the Libyan conflict—filled 47% of the newshole studied by the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism. The No. 2 story, the aftermath of the Japanese earthquake—primarily involving concerns about radiation—accounted for 15%.

That represents a reversal of the previous week, when Japan accounted for 57% of the coverage and Libya 17%. The narrative has whipsawed between these two events for the past several weeks.

With the Mideast dominating the news agenda since late January, and the Japanese earthquake and tsunami generating major attention since they struck March 11, almost half the overall coverage this year (43%) has been devoted to international events. That is almost double the normal level. All this comes at a time when newsroom cutbacks have taken a toll on foreign reporting resources.

Read the full report, Libya Dominates the News as U.S. Enters the War, on the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism Web site.

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