PEJ News Coverage Index: Jan. 5 - 11, 2009, Storyline Shifts from War to Washington

Jan 13, 2009

Even as the fighting in Gaza continued to generate major coverage last week, the media focus shifted back to Washington and the daunting tasks confronting incoming president Barack Obama.

Thanks to his increasingly aggressive campaign for a stimulus package and some controversial appointments, Obama’s transition was the top story from Jan. 5-11, according to the News Coverage Index from the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism. At 26% of the newshole, the subject more than tripled its coverage from the previous week.

While Obama’s advocacy for an economic package stood in contrast to his relative silence on the Mideast, the Gaza conflict was the second-biggest story last week (17%), dropping modestly from the previous week when it was No. 1. The war narrative seemed to evolve last week, with an increasing focus on the humanitarian situation inside Gaza.

The third-biggest story, at 12%, was the scandal that keeps on making news. As Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich was being impeached last week, the man he picked to replace Obama went to the Capitol and appeared to make some headway in his battle to be seated as Senator. That saga was followed closely by the No. 4 story, the continuing economic crisis, at 10% of the newshole.

Read the full report Storyline Shifts from War to Washington on the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism Web site.

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