Covid remained the biggest news story covered by the global media in 2022, with the Russian invasion of Ukraine a close second.
There were big (predictable), short-term spikes in coverage of the World Cup and the mid-term U.S. Elections in the fourth quarter of the year.
Media coverage of inflation, much like inflation itself, remained stubbornly elevated all year.
Elon Musk was a rare example of an individual making the list of big news stories that persist over time.
The accompanying chart leverages data on the Bloomberg terminal that counts daily stories about each topic, making it easy to see the trajectory of coverage and compare volumes.
The Bloomberg data shows nominal stories published based on about 175,000 news sources. It’s a slice of the world, but I think it works better than Google Trends (which doesn’t provide actual numbers) because it allows you to make meaningful comparisons
The chart illustrates, for example, just how huge the coverage of Covid and the Ukraine is relative to the other news events and how that coverage has trended and persisted.
News analytics such as story count volumes are an underutilized way to leverage hard data to quantify which events are the biggest of the year.
It has its shortcomings, of course, just like the voting for best picture at the Oscars.
It’s entirely possible that the nuclear fusion breakthrough at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory could be the biggest event of our lifetimes or even the century.
Coverage of that event however pales in comparison to Musk’s antics after taking over Twitter.
The coverage of Musk is indeed remarkable.
As the year drew to an end, journalists were — based on the volume of coverage — as preoccupied with Musk as they were with inflation, politics and the war in Ukraine.
I doubt that was on anyone’s bingo card for 2022.