The Project for Excellence In Journalism (PEJ) is an organization that tracks stories amongst all the different forms of media in America from print, to radio, to broadcasts, to the internet. Their weekly news index breaks down the Top 10 stories covered in America. The major story for months has been the 2008 presidential campaign, usually followed closely by the price of oil and the state of the U.S. economy. As a result, Iraq coverage has begun to fade.
For the five weeks from June 2 to July 6, Iraq broke the top ten stories three times. From June 2 to 8, Iraq was ranked number 7 in the country with 2% of all stories. The newspapers covered the story the most with 4% of the coverage, followed by online that covered the home front 2% of the time, and cable TV that devoted 1% to the debate between the presidential candidates about Iraq policy. In the week of June 16 to 22, Iraq was the number 6 story with 4% of the news. The newspapers had the most coverage at 8%, while the war didn’t break the network or cable TV’s top 10. Finally, from June 30 to July 6 Iraq received 3% of the news to rank number 6, mostly because of questions about whether Senator Barak Obama was changing his position on the war. From June 23 to 29 and June 9 to 15 Iraq did not break the top 10. Television, whether network or cable, has also consistently given the least amount of airtime to the war, while the newspapers cover it the most. In all five weeks, the 2008 presidential campaign was not only the number one story, but the only one that consistently averaged double digits, 30%, throughout the time period. Oil prices and the economy were nearly always in the top five. This trend continues with the dramatic drop in Iraq stories over the last few years.
Project for Excellence in Journalism, “PEJ Campaign Coverage Index, June 2 – 8, 2008: Clinton Drives the Media Narrative the Week Obama Wins,” 6/9/08
- “PEJ Campaign Coverage Index, June 9 – 15, 2008: Obama Makes More News Than McCain, But It’s Not All Good,” 6/16/08
- “PEJ Campaign Coverage Index, June 16-22, 2008: The Spouse and the President Get Their Media Close-up,” 6/23/08
- “PEJ Campaign Coverage Index, June 23 – 29, 2008: Democrats and Unity Drive the Campaign Narrative,” 6/30/08
- “PEJ Campaign Coverage Index, June 30 – July 6, 2008: Both Campaigns Get the Summertime Blues,” 7/8/08
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