Supremes vault health care to the top of the news heap


ChartFor months now, the dominant news narratives have been the 2012 presidential elections, courtesy of the Republican primaries, and the economy. But Supreme Court arguments on the constitutionality of President Obama’s health care package was the top story during the week of 3/26-4/1, according to the Project for Excellence in Journalism, and the Trayvon Martin story also received more coverage than the two mainstay topics.

It was health care 21%, Martin 18%, election 10% and economy 6%. No other story surpassed 3% of the overall newshole.

Cable news directors were the only dissenters on the health care story. As a rule the cable medium tends to fixate on the election, but this time they were investing 37% of available time into the Trayvon Martin shooting, with health care getting 18% and the election 17%.

Radio and network TV actually gave the election a rest. It received double digit coverage in the other three media, but radio gave it a mere 3% of available time, and network TV didn’t even place it among its top 10 stories at all.


Story Overall Nwspr Online NetTV CATV Radio
Health care debate 21% 20% 21% 16% 18% 37%
Trayvon Martin shooting 18% 3% 13% 14% 37% 24%
2012 presidential election 10% 10% 12% x 17% 3%
Economy 6% 8% 7% 6% 1% 5%
Record Mega Millions lottery 3% x 3% 7% 3% 1%
Middle East unrest 3% 4% 5% 3% x x
US airline industry 2% x x 8% 2% 1%
LA Dodgers sold 2% 5% 3% x x x
Afghanistan 2% x x 3% 4% x
Obama open mic remark 1% x x x 4% x
Education system x 6% x x x x
China x 4% 2% x x x
NCAA basketball x 3% x x x x
VA Tech shootings x 2% x x x x
Cuba x x 2% x x x
Cyberspace issues x x 2% x x 1%
Pope visits Cuba x x x 4% x x
Myanmar protests/unrest x x x 3% x x
Iran x x x 3% x x
Gas/oil prices x x x x 2% x
CO wildfires x x x x 1% 2%
Iraq War events x x x x x 2%
Corzine/MF Global scandal x x x x x 2%
Source: Project for Excellence in Journalism