March 6, 1998

Changing Definitions of News

1977 1987 1997
Policy/Ideas 7.3% 8.4% 7.5%
Political Process 5.9% 5.9% 0.0%
War and Peace 2.5% 4.0% 4.5%
Political Strategy 4.9% 4.0% 2.2%
Update Analysis 14.2% 12.9% 6.5%
Historical Outlook 1.9% 0.6% 1.5%
Personality 3.4% 6.5% 5.5%
Scandal 0.5% 17.1% 15.1%
Quality of Life 2.2% 3.3% 7.8%
Public Fear 0.1% 0.2% 1.0%
Bizarre 0.0% 0.9% 6.2%
Human Interest 5.4% 3.3% 8.0%
Straight News 51.4% 32.9% 34.3%

Between 1977 and 1997, the percentage of "straight news" stories that simply described events dropped, and the percentage of stories that emphasized a distinct narrative theme from the journalist framing the event increased.