Characterized by some as an overhyped event, Hurricane Irene was the No. 1 story in the American news media last week as the press turned from tracking its path to assessing the damage wrought by the storm.
From August 29-September 4, coverage of Irene filled 20% of the newshole, according to the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism. That was down slightly from the previous week when it was the No. 2 story, filling 21% in PEJ’s weekly News Coverage Index, which by itself was the most attention to any hurricane since PEJ began tracking news in January 2007.
The storm—which claimed more than 40 lives and did billions of dollars worth of damage in the U.S.—struck the most populous areas of the East Coast the weekend of August 28. For most of last week, Irene was no longer a hurricane, but the full extent of that damage was just becoming clear.
Read the full report, Irene’s Aftermath Tops the News, on the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism Web site.