Former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto's return from exile was big news for surfers checking the MSNBC Web site on Oct. 18. Aside from a lengthy AP story that described her hopes for launching a “remarkable political comeback,” the online treatment included such interactive components as a primer on the “challenges facing President Gen. Pervez Musharraf” and analyst Richard Haass' view of the unstable situation inside a country with an uneasy alliance with the U.S.
The next day, after Bhutto's homecoming was punctuated by bomb attacks that killed approximately 140 people, AOL News highlighted an AP story speculating on possible perpetrators. While a security official suspected someone the story identified as “an al-Qaida-linked, pro-Taliban warlord based near the Afghan border,” Bhutto's husband pointed the finger at someone different, at “elements sitting within the government.”
The dramatic and bloody events in Pakistan constituted the second-biggest story last week as measured by PEJ's News Coverage Index for Oct. 14-19, filling 6% of the newshole. Yet the subject was a much bigger story in one of the five media sectors examined by the Index each week. In the online outlets, the events in Pakistan filled 12% of the newshole and were the top web story by a 2-1 margin over the 2008 presidential race (6%).
Read the full article Web Sites Key on Pakistan, Networks Focus on Germs at the Project for Excellence in Journalism Web site.