Fueled by the one-year anniversary of the $787 billion stimulus package, which offered yet another occasion for polarized debate, the U.S. economy topped the news agenda last week.
In all, however, the anniversary was not an overwhelming story. At 12% of the newshole from February 15-21, coverage of the economy was up only modestly from the previous week (10%), according to the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism. But that was enough to make it the No. 1 story in a week when five stories filled between 7% and 12% of the newshole and four different stories were No. 1 in different media sectors studied in PEJ’s weekly News Coverage Index.
The No. 2 story, accounting for 8% of the newshole, was the Winter Olympic competition in Vancouver. The games accounted for close to a third (29%) of the news airtime on the three commercial broadcast networks. Host network NBC—with Brian Williams anchoring his evening newscast from Vancouver—devoted nearly 60% of its morning and evening news programming studied by PEJ last week to the competition.
Read the full report In a Balanced Week, a Stimulus Debate Drives the News on the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism Web site.