PEJ State of the News Media 2010: Web Covers More Global News than Other Media

PEJStateOfNewsMediaLogo.jpgOnline media covered more international news than any other sector, according to the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism‘s comprehensive The State of the News Media 2010 report, which was released Monday morning.

PEJ said 36 percent of the online news hole focused on international matters or the influence of the United States on them, versus 26 percent in the overall media, citing BBC.com‘s positioning in the top 12 general-interest news Websites in the United States in terms of traffic as one of the likely reasons.

According to PEJ, stories with a focus on foreign affairs directly relating to the United States represented 18 percent of the online news hole, while 17 percent concerned matters that did not involve the United States.

PEJ added that 46 percent of the leading coverage on Yahoo! News involved global events, while in contrast, USAToday.com ran the fewest international headlines among its top stories, at only 20 percent.


The summary from PEJ:

The economy dominated the online news agenda overall. Coverage of the grave U.S. recession and economic recovery was the No. 1 story on news websites in 2009 (21 percent). That was about four times the coverage of the next largest story online, the health care debate (5 percent). Only the newspaper sector (25 percent) devoted more attention to the economic crisis. Great variance existed, however, among news Websites with regard to news judgment. msnbc.com (27 percent) and NYTimes.com (25 percent), for instance, gave far greater priority to coverage of the economy than did AOL News (7 percent).

There were sharp differences in Websites when it came to the sources of information, whether from the outside or internally. At the No. 1 Website in terms of traffic, Yahoo! News, 99 percent of the news coverage studied during the year was aggregated from elsewhere, most of it from wire services. Despite its discussions about developing its own news resources, the numbers were similar at AOL News (91 percent of the news hole produced by others). Among cable-based Websites, CNN.com was much more loyal to its own brand, with 93 percent of its top coverage originating internally. At FOXNews.com, slightly less than one-half of the coverage was internally produced (49 percent). And that was much greater than what was produced by msnbc.com (20 percent), despite its connection to the NBC newsgathering operation. The top three newspaper Websites continue to rely primarily on their own original content for their top stories, although there is some variation here, too. NYTimes.com produced 98 percent of its leading coverage, and washingtonpost.com 95 percent. At USAToday.com, the number was 72 percent.