August 22, 2008

The Media's Olympics

Differences by Sector

Not all media sectors have given the same amount of attention to these games. Television, both network and cable, has devoted more time to the games than the front page of newspapers or than radio outlets have.

Morning network television is the news sector that has devoted the most attention to the Olympics. The three network morning shows collectively devoted more than a third of their airtime (34%) to coverage of the Olympics and China during their first news half hour. Their evening siblings, three network nightly newscasts, have been further behind, but still high, 23%.

The news programs on cable television did not cover the games heavily. Only 3% of the cable news programming during this 2-week period was devoted to China and Olympic coverage.

Radio, while still a broadcast medium, has not devoted as much time to the games. News radio programming including NPR’s Morning Edition along with ABC and CBS syndicated radio headlines have devoted 13% of their time to this coverage while talk radio hosts have spent even less time. Only 5% of the talkers’ airtime has been about the games.

Newspaper have devoted 15% of the space from their front pages to the games while the lead stories on prominent news Web sites have given 19% of their coverage.