Did the news media ‘hype’ Hurricane Irene?

The weather event represented 21 percent of all news coverage from Aug. 22 to 28. Was it worth all the coverage?

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A study of media stories from Aug. 22 to 28 found that hurricane coverage dominated 21 percent of all news. It was a close second to unrest in the Middle East, featuring the historic ouster of Muammar Gaddafi, which filled 26 percent of the news hole, according to the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism.

If you add the earthquake coverage to the mix, acts of nature made up one-third of all news coverage during the time period. It was even higher if you break out television news, which makes sense given the visual components of a hurricane and quake.

Was the coverage of Hurricane Irene excessive, or was it justified given on the basis of news value?

In a thoughtful review of coverage and analysis of what constitutes “hype,” Julie Moos says no, coverage was fair.

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