The Pew Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism is out with a report on coverage of the recession today. It finds that “the media” has largely ignored covering the economic woes from the perspective of anyone or anything other than big banks, big companies, and politicians:
Three storylines have dominated: efforts to help revive the banking sector, the battle over the stimulus package and the struggles of the U.S. auto industry. Together they accounted for nearly 40% of the economic coverage from February 1 through August 31. Other topics related to the crisis have been covered much less. As an example, all the reporting of retail sales, 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.
It’s an interesting report that — at least for those of us here in flyover country — is bound to flunk the “smell test,” depending on how you define “the media.”
Network news, which mostly comes from New York and Washington, is bound to focus on things in New York and Washington, a city a relative always described as “12 square miles surrounded by reality.”
But for the most part, Minnesota media — and I’ll define that by the local papers and public radio — have covered the recession’s effect on people. The Star Tribune today, for example, published an insightful look at how the banks are calling the shots on whether homeowners get any mortgage assistance. MPR, like other media, has beaten the drum on the Rosemary Williams story, News Cut is profiling the lives of The Unemployed and earlier this year took a generational look at the economy.
Is it enough? Probably not. Is it non-existent? Certainly not.