Last week's reporting and commentary on the Virginia Tech massacre accounted for more than half (51%) of all the news coverage from April 15-20, 2007, according to PEJ's News Coverage Index. By way of comparison, the year's second second-most covered story—the debate over President Bush's Iraq “surge” decision from January 7-12—filled 34% of the newshole that week.
In every media sector the Index examined, the campus disaster generated a record level of coverage. It consumed 50% of the radio airtime, 62% of the network TV newshole, and a remarkable 76% of cable news programming. (That was the first time any story this year consumed at least half the newshole in any media platform.). Even the newspaper front pages and online sector—which typically tend not to focus as intensely on one story as television does—devoted 27% and 37% to Virginia Tech, respectively.
Read the full article and view charts on the Project for Excellence in Journalism Web site.