Pew Study: Media Didn’t Fail in Oil Spill Coverage

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By: E&P Staff

A new study by the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism on the media’s coverage of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill and its aftermath has found the media did, for the most part, provide adequate coverage of the unfolding story.

The Pew report, titled “100 Days of Gushing Oil: Media Analysis and Quiz,” points out that unlike other disasters, which tend to arise quickly and subside nearly as fast, the Gulf oil spill was a news event that lasted for months — and required the media to explain to news consumers technical terms about the ensuing cleanup and the long-term ecological impact.

“News organizations displayed real staying power as events continued to unfold,” Pew reports on “They spent considerable time reporting from the Gulf and humanizing the crisis. They largely avoided the temptation to turn the disaster into a full-blown political finger-pointing story. And in many cases they used their Websites’ interactive features to illuminate aspects of the story that would have been harder to digest in print or broadcast formats.

“In short, a news industry coping with depleted staffing, decreasing revenues and shrinking ambition was tested by the oil spill and seemed to pass,” Pew adds.

Check out the study, here.

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