August 24, 2011

National Economy a Washington Story?

% of economic coverage
Budget & Debt 45.6
State & Local 16.9
Jobs 7.9
Credit & Banking 4.2
Stocks 4.2
Housing 4
Other businesses 2.9
Recession fears 2
Taxes 1.7
Role of the Fed 1.5
Avg. Americans 1.5

4% – Amount of economic coverage focused on the housing crisis

With the battle over the national debt, an unstable stock market, and stubbornly high unemployment numbers, the national economy has been a major topic in the news. Indeed the economy is the most covered story in 2011, accounting for almost one-fifth or 18.3% of newshole, thus far.

What economic storylines have made up this coverage?

According to PEJ’s News Coverage Index, nearly half (45.6%) of the economic coverage from January 1 through August 21 has focused on the hotly disputed national deficit and budget. An additional 16.9% dealt with budget battles at the state and local level. Combined, nearly two-thirds of the economic coverage (62.5%) focused on political fights stemming from budget and debt negotiations.

Aspects of the economy receiving less coverage included attention to unemployment and jobs (7.9%), the ongoing housing problems (4%), and the general effect on average Americans (1.5%).  Together, these three aspects, which directly affect many Americans, accounted for just one-fifth of the attention generated by the budget battles.

Tricia Sartor of PEJ