PEJ News Coverage Index: Apr. 12 - 18, 2010, Wall Street, Nukes, and a Volcano Top the News

Apr 20, 2010

The U.S. economy led the news last week, due to a handful of storylines that ranged from a debate over regulatory reform and growing concerns about the federal budget deficit to the fiscal situation in Greece. By the end of the week, however, the eruption of a volcano in Iceland that paralyzed travel in Europe was generating the most attention.

Stories related to the economy represented 16% of the newshole for the week of April 12-18, twice what the topic garnered the week before, according to the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism. But no single element dominated the coverage in a week in which the government filed suit against Wall Street investment powerhouse Goldman Sachs.

The No. 2 story last week was the Icelandic volcano. It roared to life with a fiery eruption on April 14. The coverage started out as a science story, but quickly gained urgency as European governments shut down airports to prevent damage to jet engines from a cloud of airborne ash and debris. Experts said it was the biggest interruption of air travel since the 9/11 terrorist attacks in the United States. For the week, the volcano accounted for 7% of the newshole. But from April 16-18, it was the week’s top story, filling nearly one-quarter (22%) of the overall newshole.

The week’s third-biggest story (also at 7%), was nuclear policy, driven by coverage of a gathering of 47 world leaders in Washington to discuss the control of nuclear weapons.

Read the full report Wall Street, Nukes, and a Volcano Top the News on the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism Web site.

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