August 10, 2010

Henry Louis Gates: Top Black Media Story

19.4

Nearly one-fifth of all coverage studied during the year relating to African Americans had to do with the arrest of and controversy surrounding Henry Louis Gates.

A year-long study (from early 2009 through early 2010) of media coverage of African Americans found what little coverage blacks attracted focused on specific episodes and people rather than on broader issues. In fact, nearly one-fifth (19.4%) of all coverage studied had to do with the arrest of and controversy surrounding Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates. The Gates story was never huge, consuming only 11.9% of the newshole and being the third most covered story during the week of July 20-26, the peak of its interest. Network morning news programs devoted the most time to the incident, as 45.2% of their African-American-related coverage centered on the Gates arrest. The story was pushed along by comments President Obama made about the incident at a news conference. Obama, not involved at all in the initial incident, was a central newsmaker in roughly half of all African American-related Gates coverage. Read More