The two big international stories that have recently dominated the headlines remained at the top of the U.S. news agenda last week. But there were signs that media attention to both of them was beginning to plateau as the U.S. economy re-emerged as a bigger story.
Unrest in the Middle East, driven by the volatile Libyan civil war, accounted for 38% of the newshole during the week of March 28-April 3, according to the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism. Even with President Obama delivering a prime-time speech on the subject, coverage was down from the week before (47%), amid signals of a protracted military struggle between the rebels and Muammar Gaddafi.
There was a clearer indication of waning press interest in Japan, where the aftermath of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, most notably the subsequent nuclear emergency, accounted for 12% of the coverage studied. That compares with 15% the previous week and a whopping 57% the week before that. The diminishing coverage may, in part, be attributed to continuing reports about the damaged nuclear plant that are dismaying, but perhaps no longer ominous to an audience outside of Japan.
Read the full report Libya Drives the News as Concerns Grow on the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism Web site.