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Midterms Dominate National Coverage

Coverage of the midterm congressional elections by
the national media hit a high last week (Oct. 18-24), accounting for 38% of the
news hole, up from 28% the week before.

That is according to the latest Pew Research Center
Project for Excellence in Journalism News Coverage Index (NCI).

Number two in terms of coverage was the economy,
at 12% of the news hole. Coming in at number three (5%) was NPR's firing of
Juan Williams, which became both a speech and financial debate as some
Republicans renewed their periodic call to defund noncommercial radio and TV.

The Williams news did not break until Oct. 20.
From Oct. 21-24, it was the number two story with 13% of the coverage over that

The election, with Republicans expected to win
back the House and key Senate races tightening, was the top story in all five
media sectors measured by PEJ. Cable had the most coverage with over half its
time (57%), followed by national radio at 52%, network TV at 33%, newspapers
28% and Web sites 23%.

The weekly NCI is a content analysis of about 1,000 stories on 52
national outlets across the five sectors of the media: print, online, network
TV, cable and radio. The percentages are based on the space devoted to each
subject in print and online and the time devoted on TV and radio. Local TV and
radio station coverage is not included in the index.