Last week was one of the most varied in the news so far this year.

The week’s biggest story, the 2008 presidential campaign, made up only 8% of the news hole in PEJ’s weekly News Coverage Index, which examines 48 different news outlets.

That was the second-smallest total for a “top story” measured in 2007. (The smallest was the coverage of Campaign 2008 the week of February 25, when it received 7% of that week’s coverage).

The weekly percentage of coverage may have been small, but the campaign has been one of the top stories throughout the year and was the top story in the recently released News Index for the second quarter of 2007.

And while there was no dominant story for the week of August 12, politics played a big role as a theme.

Close behind the campaign in media attention was the resignation announcement of White House adviser Karl Rove – which made up 7% the newshole studied last week.

The Rove story was helped by the fact that the resignation announcement came early Monday morning, making it a story for the whole week studied. The coverage of the man sometimes called “the architect” of the President’s victories generally focused on the fact that he was controversial, loved and hated.

The continuing saga of the six miners trapped in Utah also remained in the top five stories of the week, also with 7% of the coverage.

The other story that generated significant attention (also with 7% of the coverage) was the growing concern about the economy and the fall in the stock market. The story grew as the week wore on, and markets around the world began to sag – about two-thirds of the coverage of the economy took place in just two days, Thursday and Friday. The bumpy economic ride was also the biggest story of the week for the newspapers and network TV shows PEJ analyzes.

The next two most heavily covered topics of the week received nearly as much coverage again. In a week that saw one of the most violent single days of the war, events on the ground in Iraq and efforts to protect the United States from terrorism both garnering 5% of the coverage.

PEJ’s News Coverage Index is a study of the news agenda of 48 different outlets from five sectors of the media. (See a List of Outlets.) It is designed to provide news consumers, journalists and researchers with hard data about what stories and topics the media are covering, the trajectories of major stories and differences among news platforms. (See Our Methodology.)

Dante Chinni of PEJ


This week’s account of the News Coverage Index has been abbreviated to make room for the second quarter report on the results of the Index.
Note: CNN preempted its regular programming from 8:00 – 8:30 pm ET on Thursday, August 16, and Friday, August 17. Therefore, those time periods are not included in this week's sample.