A storm system that spawned the deadliest tornado in decades, killing more than 100 residents of Joplin Missouri, last week registered as thebiggest weather story since the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism began monitoring the press.
From May 23-May 29, the Midwest tornado and subsequent storms accounted for 22% of the newshole as measured by PEJ’s weekly News Coverage Index. Previously the biggest weather week since PEJ began tracking news in January 2007 was September 1-7, 2008, when Hurricanes Hanna and Gustav combined to fill 20% of the newshole.
Last week’s scenes of death and destruction were primarily conveyed to U.S. citizens on television news. The story accounted for nearly one-half (46%) of the network news airtime studied last week; it filled more than one-third (38%) on cable news.
Read the full report, A Heartland Tragedy Seizes the News Agenda on the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism Web site.