As the year drew to a close, something happened last week that hadn’t occurred all year: No single story dominated the attention of a news media that had become, increasingly, narrowly focused in 2008.
While the ongoing storylines of the struggling economy and the incoming Obama administration were still in the spotlight, other stories rivaled them for attention. And in the end, for the first time in 2008, no single story filled more than 15% of the time studied on television or space online or on the nation’s front pages, according to the weekly News Coverage Index from the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism.
The smallest level of coverage achieved by a single top story all year was 20%. And this was only the third time in six months in which five different stories received notable attention in the same week (filling 5% or more of the newshole studied).
For the week of December 15-21, the economy and the Obama transition were closely followed by two scandals and a mess: the arrest Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich for trying to sell a Senate seat, the financial swindle involving Bernard Madoff and the efforts to rescue U.S. automakers from bankruptcy.
Read the full report A Christmas Present — No Story Eats the News on the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism Web site.