PEJ News Coverage Index: May 31-June 6, 2010, Gulf Disaster Again Dominates the News

Jun 10, 2010

In a week during which the government announced the launching of a criminal investigation of the disaster, the Gulf of Mexico oil spill topped the news agenda for the fourth consecutive time, according to the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism.

With public anger appearing to mount and President Obama making his third trip to the Gulf region, the story accounted for 35% of the newshole from May 31-June 6. That represents the second-biggest week of coverage (it was 38% from May 24-30) since the April 20 oil rig explosion that triggered the catastrophe. And news late in the week that BP’s containment dome was siphoning off some of the oil was greeted with far more uncertainty, and even skepticism, than celebration.

In the seven weeks since the late April explosion, the spill saga has come to overshadow every other subject in the mainstream news agenda, registering at 22% of the newshole for the period. The second-biggest story during those seven weeks, the U.S. economy, stood at 14%. No other subject has registered in double digits in that period.

Read the full report, Gulf Disaster Again Dominates the News, on the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism Web site.

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