PEJ News Coverage Index: Oct. 26 - Nov. 1, 2009, The Big Three—Health Care, War and the Economy—Dominate Again

Nov 03, 2009

Two ongoing domestic policy stories and the emerging foreign policy challenge in Afghanistan are now regularly monopolizing the media’s attention. And if they haven’t completely eclipsed the rest of the news, they have made it more difficult for other topics to break into the headlines.

Last week, once again, the debate over health care, the war in Afghanistan and the economic crisis accounted for roughly 40% of the newshole studied by the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism—the fourth straight week those subjects combined for that level of attention.

The health care battle was the No. 1 story last week, October 25-November 1, filling 16% of the newshole, according to PEJ’s weekly News Coverage Index. The war in Afghanistan was close behind, at 13%, followed by the state of the economy, at 12%.

In the past month, those stories have rotated position atop the news agenda. From Oct. 19-25, the economy was the No.1 story; a week earlier it was health care, and the week prior to that, Afghanistan was the most-covered topic. In that period—from October 5-November 1—they have commanded almost equal coverage—14% for health care and 13% apiece for Afghanistan and the economy.

Read the full report The Big Three—Health Care, War and the Economy—Dominate Again on the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism Web site. 

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