A week that began with an old-media stalwart prompting a policy debate with an in-depth investigation ended with a vivid illustration of the perils of the rapid-fire nature of modern cable and the edges of internet news.
But even with that, the economy nevertheless dominated the week's news, edging out the Washington Post's two-year investigation of America's intelligence-gathering apparatus and the firing of an Agriculture Department employee named Shirley Sherrod.
Economic news accounted for 17% of the newshole from July 19-25, its highest level in nearly three months, according to the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism. Driving the story last week were partisan debates over a pair of Washington-centric items: the merits of extending unemployment insurance benefits and Wall Street regulatory reform.
The No. 2 story of the week was the forced resignation of Sherrod after a conservative activist posted clips of a speech she gave to the NAACP in March. The story, which garnered 14% of the newshole, was picked up by a few cable talk shows but quickly mushroomed when it was revealed that the brief clips distorted the meaning of her remarks. That is the subject a special reconstruction by PEJ this week, which traces the arc of the story point by point and explains the questions raised by the incident.
Read the full report, Old and New Media Both Make News, but Economy Tops the Agenda on the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism Web site.