Project launched to monitor U.S. news media output

By David Alexander Thu Jan 4, 3:39 PM ET

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A research group said on Thursday it is monitoring the output of nearly 50 U.S. news organizations to produce a weekly index of the topics receiving the most attention from TV, newspapers, Internet and radio.

The Project for Excellence in Journalism, part of the Pew Research Center, said it would publish its News Coverage Index online at ( each Tuesday beginning next week.

Former Boston Globe press critic Mark Jurkowitz, who will write a column on the weekly findings, said early test monitoring had uncovered potential trends the researchers would be watching.

One big story for many news organizations was the December 14 British inquiry ruling Princess Diana's death an accident, Jurkowitz said.

"But no one liked it as much as the network morning news shows, the 'Good Morning Americas,' the 'Today' shows. There was some innate connection between Princess Di and that particular format that made it exceedingly popular," he said.

Politics, on the other hand, appeared to be a constant topic of discussion on cable television networks, more so than other media.

And people who read news online seemed to get "a wider variety and a bigger balance of international news than anybody who pays attention to any other segment," he added.

The news organizations being monitored include The New York Times,, Yahoo News,, Google News, AOL News, the three main network morning and evening news shows, CNN, Fox and MSNBC cable news shows and radio news programs and talk shows.

Tom Rosenstiel, the director of the Project for Excellence in Journalism, said the new index would be a companion to the Pew News Interest Index, a survey undertaken regularly that monitors what U.S. residents are following in the news.