PEJ News Coverage Index: Mar. 2 - 8, 2009, Falling Stocks and Rising Rush Fuel the News

PEJ News Coverage Index: Mar. 2 - 8, 2009, Falling Stocks and Rising Rush Fuel the News

Last week, as the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell to a 12-year low, coverage of the ever-worsening economic crisis shifted again to yet a new narrative.

Led by falling stock prices, the financial meltdown accounted for 43% of the newshole from March 2-8 as measured by the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism. That is up modestly from the previous week when the story registered at 38% of the newshole.

In the six full weeks since President Obama's inaugural—January 26-March 8—the economic crisis has accounted for 43% of the newshole. (And that does not include related stories, such as the U.S. auto industry or Obama's February 24 speech to Congress.) That is roughly six times more than the next biggest story—the logistics and evaluations of the new administration—which registered at 7%.

These numbers for the floundering economy in 2009 conjure up comparisons to the Presidential election in 2008. It is an ongoing saga that shows no signs of abating (at least the campaign had an ending date) and is consuming the overwhelming share of media attention. In the same period in 2008—one that included Super Tuesday and other key primaries—the election filled 46% of the newshole, and the economy was the second-biggest story at 6%. The numbers are remarkably similar.

Aside from the sheer gravity of the situation—comparisons to the Great Depression are increasingly creeping into the media narrative—the other striking feature in the coverage is the complexity and breadth of the economic problems, which also suggest a story with massive staying power. Last week marked the fourth time in four weeks that a different component of the crisis was the top storyline.

Read the full report Falling Stocks and Rising Rush Fuel the News on the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism Web site.

Spotlight on Mental Health

Composite image of modern city network communication concept

Learn the Basics of Broadband from Our Limited Series

Sign up for our four-week email course on Broadband Basics

Quick View

How does broadband internet reach our homes, phones, and tablets? What kind of infrastructure connects us all together? What are the major barriers to broadband access for American communities?

Pills illustration
Pills illustration

What Is Antibiotic Resistance—and How Can We Fight It?

Sign up for our four-week email series The Race Against Resistance.

Quick View

Antibiotic-resistant bacteria, also known as “superbugs,” are a major threat to modern medicine. But how does resistance work, and what can we do to slow the spread? Read personal stories, expert accounts, and more for the answers to those questions in our four-week email series: Slowing Superbugs.

Explore Pew’s new and improved
Fiscal 50 interactive

Your state's stats are more accessible than ever with our new and improved Fiscal 50 interactive:

  • Maps, trends, and customizable charts
  • 50-state rankings
  • Analysis of what it all means
  • Shareable graphics and downloadable data
  • Proven fiscal policy strategies

Explore

Welcome to the new Fiscal 50

Key changes include:

  • State pages that help you keep track of trends in your home state and provide national and regional context.
  • Interactive indicator pages with highly customizable and shareable data visualizations.
  • A Budget Threads feature that offers Pew’s read on the latest state fiscal news.

Learn more about the new and improved Fiscal 50.