11:00 am Dec. 21, 2011
In a year that gave us a catastrophic earthquake and tsunami, the continuation of two protracted conflicts abroad, mass uprisings throughout the Middle East, a European financial crisis, a presidential primary race and the killing of the world's No.1 terrorist, the faltering American economy emerged as the most widely covered news story in the U.S. media, according to a year-end study released today by Pew's Project for Excellence in Journalism.
"As the recovery weakened and Washington engaged in partisan warfare over the debt ceiling, news about the state of the economy jumped to the same level of attention it had received in 2009 when newly elected president Barack Obama passed his controversial stimulus package in response to the 'Great Recession,'" the report reads in part. "For all of 2011, the economy made up 20% of the space studied in newspapers and online and time on television and radio news, an increase of more than 40% from 14% of the newshole studied in 2010."
The Occupy Wall Street protests helped edge the economy into the top slot, accounting for 5 percent of total economic coverage, according to the report.
The report also logged a decline in coverage of the war in Afghanistan, which dropped by half year-over-year from 4 percent to 2 percent.
Overall, though, there was an increase in foreign headlines, by more than a third, largely thanks to the arrival of the Arab Spring.
The Middle East unrest was the year's second biggest story, filling 12 percent of total news coverage, followed by the 2012 presidential election at 9 percent, Japan's earthquake and tsunami at 3 percent, and the killing of Osama bin Laden at 2 percent. That event was the biggest story in a single week, generating 69 percent of news coverage between May 2 and May 8.
You can read the full report here.
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