Pew Study: Financial Coverage Ignores Average Americans

By: Joe Strupp Most coverage of the ongoing financial crisis has focused on the plight of big companies and banks, with less on the average person, according to a new study from the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism.

"The government and big business have driven most of the coverage, have had the largest voice in the portrayal of it, and have accounted for most of the key ideas," the study states. "Meanwhile, the primary victims of the recession -- average Americans -- did not play a main role in press coverage of the crisis."

The report, released today, reveals the White House and other government officials "initiated nearly a third (32%) of economic stories, while the media itself triggered 23% and businesses 21%. In contrast, ordinary citizens initiated just 2% of stories."

It adds that three "themes" accounted for nearly 40% of economic coverage studied: reviving the banking sector; the stimulus package debate and th U.S. auto industry.

"Conversely, subjects that are typically harder to cover, but may affect more people, received less coverage," findings revealed. "For instance, reporting of retail sales and food prices; the impact of the crisis on Social Security and Medicare; its effect on education and the implications for health care combined accounted for just over 2% of all the economic coverage."

The Pew report studied coverage between Feb. 1 and Aug. 31, reviewing 9,950 stories from television, radio, cable, newspapers and the Web. A more detailed analysis was conducted for a shorter period, from Feb.1 to July 3.

The entire study is here.


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