October 20, 2009

If it’s a Natural Disaster it Leads

15.4

During the last week in September, natural disaster news took up 15.4% of airtime on the network news.

The media love natural disasters, and nowhere is this truer than in the sector where the damage from a flood or earthquake can be shown in all its horror: network television news. Three tragedies — a tsunami in Samoa Islands, an earthquake in Indonesia and a typhoon in the Philippines — collectively accounted for 9.2% of the newshole from Sept. 28-Oct. 4, marking the second-biggest week of natural disaster coverage for the year. These stories were even bigger news on the network newscasts, taking up 15.4% of the airtime studied. Back in 2007, a natural-disaster story became the second-biggest story of the year, as the wildfires in Southern California received more press attention than every news event other than the tragedy at Virginia Tech. Read More