Five different times during the year, a news event filled more than half of the newshole studied in a given week, a rarity in the four years since the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism began tracking coverage.

The biggest one-week story of the year was the May 1 killing of Osama bin Laden by Navy Seals, which filled 69% of that week’s newshole. Previously, the biggest story measured (also at about 69%,) occurred in August of the 2008 presidential campaign. During this period, the Democratic Party nominated Barack Obama at their Denver convention and John McCain introduced Sarah Palin as his running mate.

Four other subjects also surpassed the 50% mark in a week in 2011: the Tucson shooting spree that wounded Congresswoman Giffords, the Japanese earthquake and tsunami, turmoil in the Middle East stemming from the Arab Spring, and the struggling — and then rebounding — U.S. economy. Read More

Russell Heimlich  is a former web developer at Pew Research Center.