Two potential disasters and an almost forgotten war helped drive the mainstream news agenda in a week in which a number of events vied for the media’s attention.
The top story from August 30-September 5 was Hurricane Earl, which accounted for 13% of the newshole, according to the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism. The huge storm triggered FEMA warnings, evacuations and at times, near apocalyptic media coverage. But by week’s end, Earl ended more with a whimper than a bang as the East Coast dodged a meteorological bullet.
Another dramatic event that ended far less disastrously than it could have was the No. 5 story. The September 1 hostage situation at Discovery’s Maryland headquarters—an event that played out for an afternoon cable audience—filled 5% of the total newshole. The crisis ended after a few hours when police shot and killed the perpetrator, James Lee. But no one else was injured.
The week’s No. 2 story was the economy, which filled 9% of the newshole, the same level as the previous week. News about the employment situation was the top storyline, with a mixed jobs report that wasn’t as bad as feared, but failed to reverse the gloomy tenor of late.
Read the full report, A Near-Miss Hurricane Tops the News on the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism Web site.