OLD Media Moves

Coverage of financial crisis, auto industry dominate media

December 9, 2008

A study by the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism discovered that media coverage of the current economic crisis and the proposed auto industry bailout totaled about 40 percent of coverage last week.

The report stated, “As more grim signs of a financial meltdown emerged, the troubled economy was easily the top story the week of Dec. 1-7. In its various facets, the economy filled about 40% of the newshole, a high level of coverage of that topic. The largest component was the financial crisis itself, which accounted for 20% of the newshole. That was followed closely by the troubled US auto industry, at 17%. To a lesser extent, the economic news also included mixed reports about holiday shopping — most notably Black Friday and Cyber Monday — and the only truly cheerful tidings for consumers, plunging prices at the gas pump.

“When it came to the financial meltdown, concerns about jobs and recession-related fears were the top themes last week. Even pessimists seemed surprised by the news that the economy shed about a half million jobs in November, the biggest single monthly decline in 34 years. But it’s less likely that many were stunned by the report that the U.S. has been in a recession for almost a full year.

“An AP story posted on MSNBC.com on Dec. 1, the day the stock market fell by about 680 points, noted that some of the sell-off reflected news that ‘everyone has suspected for months…The National Bureau of Economic Research, considered the arbiter of when the economy is in recession or expanding, said the U.S. recession had begun a year ago, in December 2007.'”

Read more here.

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