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PEJ: Economy, Election Top News Coverage

The down economy and the rise of Michele Bachman to official GOP presidential candidate occupied the top two spots in Project for Excellence in Journalism's News Coverage Index from June 27 to July 3, the most recent reporting period.

The economy, and in particular the stalled discussions on deficit reduction and the debt ceiling, occupied 19% of the news hole, while campaign coverage came in second place with 13%. Bachman was the story in the Republican presidential nomination race coverage for the week, featuring prominently in 40% of campaign coverage.

PEJ noted that there is a continuing trend to a news "pivot" to the economy and campaign after an early-year focus on international stories including the earthquake in Japan, the killing of Osama bin Laden and the Middle East turmoil, though arguably those were less a choice to cover international news over domestic than a necessity given the impact of each of those events.

Last week also marked the first time in the past five months that Middle East coverage was not in the top five stories. Rounding out those top five were Afghanistan (the Continental Hotel attack) at 5%, the Strauss-Kahn sex scandal at 5%, and the Supreme Court ruling that California could not ban the sale or rental of violent video games to kids.