It's no surprise to environmental and science journalists that the three major broadcast networks' coverage of space, science and technology (and environment) is down as a result of increased foreign coverage.
You can put the actual decline at about 50 percent, according to ADT Research's Tyndall Report, which prepared data on the issue for the Project for Excellence in Journalism.
The Project for Excellence reported September 11 that the mix of "traditional hard news" and lifestyle coverage has remained virtually unchanged on the evening news broadcasts. Coverage of foreign policy has increased by 102 percent, of armed conflict by 69 percent, and of terrorism by 135 percent, the organization said, based on data provided by Tyndall Report publisher Andrew Tyndall, monitoring news on ABC, CBS, and NBC weeknight news broadcasts.
"For every battleground or terror threat generating coverage, there is another story, in many cases a domestic one, going unreported," the Project for Excellence in Journalism reported, making a point well-known to many environmental journalists, who have seen coverage of their own beat shrink markedly in recent years. That generality appears to be at least as true of print news organizations as it is of network news programming.
Tyndall told the Project for Excellence that events, rather than the reporters covering them, are what determine news content. "The big lesson is that we overstate the influence journalists have on the news media," he said.
In reporting its findings synched to the fifth anniversary of the 9-11 terrorism attacks, the Project for Excellence in Journalism acknowledged that the report "may not surprise anyone," and it said the issue of global terrorism "is the new question of our times. It may dictate the outcome of the 2006 midterm elections and define the Bush presidency." The group said the increased terrorism coverage "appears to be in sync with the concerns of citizens" as measurd in Pew Research Center for the People and the Press polling.