The Pew Project for Excellence in Journalism reports that coverage of the economy went up in October:

Overall economic coverage accounted for 22% of the newshole from October 3-9, up from 14% the week before (when it was No. 2).

(The word “newshole” refers to the limited space/time devoted to news in a day.)

Coverage of the protests is rising too, suggesting that Occupy Wall Street can take at least part of the credit:

The protests [themselves]… constituted the largest single thread in that coverage, making up about one-third of the economic storyline. That amounted to roughly 7% of the overall newshole, or nearly four times the amount of protest coverage from the week before.

 

So, is Occupy Wall Street also changing the discourse?

Jeremiah sent a link to data collected by Think Progress that suggests it is.  They counted the number of times MSNBC, CNN, and Fox used the terms “unemployed,”  “unemployment,” and “debt” during the last week in July, before the protests began.  They found that news coverage emphasized the debt (and the need to cut spending to reduce it) much, much more than the fact that there were large numbers of unemployed people (who would be helped by spending).

During the week of October 10-16, though, the language was different.  News coverage talked about the protests themselves, and the problem of jobs for the unemployed. The specter of the debt is now taking a back seat to the suffering of individuals.

It’ll be interesting to see what happens.

Lisa Wade is a professor of sociology at Occidental College and the co-author of Gender: Ideas, Interactions, Institutions. You can follow her on Twitter and Facebook.
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