Pew Center Study: Blacks Didn’t Get More Coverage During Obama’s First Year

By: E&P Staff

Those who thought that African Americans might receive more attention from the U.S. mainstream news media during the first year of Barack Obama’s presidency were wrong, according to a yearlong study by the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism and its Social and Demographic Trends Project.

Rather, blacks received relatively little attention in the U.S. mainstream news media during Obama’s first year in office, and what coverage did appear tended to focus more on specific news events rather than examining how broader issues and trends impacted the lives of African Americans.

The findings came from an examination of more than 67,000 national news stories that appeared between Feb. 16, 2009 and Feb. 15, 2010 in different mainstream media outlets, including newspapers, cable and network television, radio, and news Websites, according to Pew.

The study reveals that from early 2009 through early 2010, the biggest news story related to African Americans was the controversy wrought by the arrest last summer of Henry Louis Gates, a black Harvard University professor, by a white Cambridge, Mass., police officer. That story accounted for nearly four times more African American-related coverage than the economy or health care, the two biggest national “issue” stories covered by mainstream media outlets during the same period.

Check out the Pew Research Center’s analysis, here.

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