PEJ News Coverage Index: December 27, 2010 - January 2, 2011. Wild Winter Weather Tops the Web

Jan 04, 2011

A powerful East Coast winter storm—and complaints about the cleanup effort that followed it—topped the online news agenda last week, according to a special News Coverage Index from the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism.

No single subject really dominated the news websites during the week of December 27-31. But the story that led—the first Eastern “snowpocalypse” of the season—managed to surpass coverage of the U.S. economy, a story that had recently led the news overall, as well as in the online sector. The storm filled 12% of home page coverage on the 12 websites studied in PEJ’s weekly index. Although PEJ’s weekly NCI normally includes more than 50 media outlets in five different sectors, this report focused solely on the news agenda in the nation’s most-viewed news websites. PEJ’s index studies news websites that attract the largest audiences of their kind.

The snowstorm, which struck along the coast from Philadelphia to Boston on December 26—dropping as much as 20 inches of snow—snarled the Eastern Seaboard as holiday travelers tried to make their way along busy and treacherous highways. But unlike the Midwestern storms of mid-December, which among other things, caved in the roof of the Minneapolis Metrodome, online sites devoted a significant portion of their coverage to the Eastern event. (During the week of December 13-19, that storm did not even make the top 10 stories on the web). 

Read the full report Wild Winter Weather Tops the Web on the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism Web site.

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