US News Coverage Focused More on Bin Laden than Japan Earthquake, Libya Uprising, Deadly Tornadoes and Other Major Events

Research via service provides insight into coverage trends and the impact of US media on significant news events


NEW YORK, Jul 07, 2011 (BUSINESS WIRE) — Analysis of U.S.-based media coverage of major 2011 news events using the news and business information service from LexisNexis(R) provides insight into the type of news press focuses on and the exposure those news events receive. Specifically, media published or aired 23 percent more news articles about the military operation against Osama bin Laden in the two weeks following his death than news articles covering the Japanese earthquake in the two weeks following its occurrence in March. Further, U.S. coverage of bin Laden’s death was more than double that of other breaking news in 2011 such as the Libya uprising and tornadoes in the southern U.S. in the 14 days after those events.

While coverage of any significant news story may and often does continue long term, history suggests that news outlets focus most of their attention on a subject in a two-week period following breaking news or leading up to an anticipated event when stories are “hot.” Comparing coverage volume within this timeframe can provide insight into what types of “stories” media prefer to cover.

With this in mind, according to query results from the service, this year U.S. media published or aired:

— 6,463 original pieces of coverage on the death of Osama bin Laden in the two weeks following its announcement by President Barack Obama on May 1.

— 4,996 original pieces of coverage about the Japanese earthquake in the two weeks following its occurrence on March 11.

— 2,784 original pieces of coverage about the uprising in Libya in the two weeks following the initial revolt on Feb. 18.

— 2,234 original pieces of coverage about tornadoes in the southern U.S. in the two weeks starting April 27 when Alabama and other states were first impacted.

— 1,885 original pieces of coverage about the British Royal wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton in the two weeks leading up to and one day past the ceremony on April 30.

— 1,304 original pieces of coverage about the debate of the U.S. federal budget between March 28 and April 10, the day after Congress agreed on a measure to keep the government functioning.

— 688 original pieces of coverage about the controversy surrounding the release of President Obama’s birth certificate from April 13 to April 27, when the “long form” of his birth certificate was published.

“While natural disasters and international conflicts will always be a focus for U.S. media, the fact that the press covered the death of Osama bin Laden so much more than other major events indicates how profoundly important journalists felt the event was to the American public,” said Tom Ogburn, vice president and managing director of Business Insight Solutions at LexisNexis. “Meanwhile, the fact that something like the British Royal wedding was not covered as much as tornadoes in the South or the Libyan uprising may provide evidence against the assumption that U.S. news media are too focused on celebrity and pop culture.”

“A comparison of news coverage like this is just one example of how users can research, collect and analyze news and other types of information to gain insight or spot trends to give them a competitive advantage in the marketplace,” added Ogburn. is a searchable database service of current and archived news, company and financial information, public records and legal information from LexisNexis. Featuring precision search technology, the easy-to-use service provides customers with access to more than 5 billion documents and records from more than 22,000 news and social media sources, 600 company and industry sources, and more than 300 executive and biographical sources. Content on the service is categorized in a comprehensive collection of domestic and international news and business information sources and delivered in multiple languages.

About LexisNexis

LexisNexis(R) ( ) is a leading global provider of content-enabled workflow solutions designed specifically for professionals in the legal, risk management, corporate, government, law enforcement, accounting, and academic markets. LexisNexis originally pioneered online information with its Lexis(R) and Nexis(R) services. A member of Reed Elsevier /quotes/zigman/495711/quotes/nls/enl ENL -1.56% /quotes/zigman/495664/quotes/nls/ruk RUK -1.52% ( ), LexisNexis serves customers in more than 100 countries with 15,000 employees worldwide.




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