OLD Media Moves

Narrow economic reporting this year

October 5, 2009

A study of financial news coverage this year found that government, Wall Street and a small handful of story lines got the bulk of the attention while much less was paid to the economic troubles of ordinary people, writes Richard Perez-Pena of the New York Times.

Perez-Pena writes, “The study, by the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism, also found that when the stock market rebounded from its lows and pitched battles in Washington ended, the news media turned their attention away from economic coverage.

“Reviewing almost 10,000 reports from Feb. 1 to Aug. 31 in newspapers, on news Web sites, on the radio and on network broadcast and cable television, Pew found that almost 40 percent of economic news reports dealt with the trials of the banking and auto industries, and the federal stimulus bill passed in February.

“Unemployment and the housing crisis accounted for 12 percent. And, the study said, ‘stories that tried to explicitly examine the broader impact of the economic downturn on the lives of ordinary Americans filled 5 percent of the economic coverage.’

“Three-quarters of the reports originated from Washington or New York, and a similar number were based on the actions of government and business leaders.”

Read more here.

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