The Occupy Wall Street movement is now occupying media coverage, making the economy the number one topic in the news, according to the Pew Research Center. Twenty-two percent of the news-hole—the amount of space available for content in the news—was about the economy last week, up from 14% the week before. This surge was “driven by dramatically increasing media attention to the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations,” says Pew.
The 2012 presidential election was second, about 18% of the news-hole. Some coverage of the presidential election overlapped with Occupy Wall Street coverage as presidential hopefuls like Romney, Gingrich, and Cain disparaged the movement. Election coverage was followed by news about Apple’s release of its newest iPhone and the death of Steve Jobs (11%), the Amanda Knox trial (7%), and the Nobel Prizes (4%).
The movement’s gathering momentum and spread to other cities are reasons why coverage has increased. Of course, coverage and momentum are mutually reinforcing. Increasing media coverage encourages the protestors and accelerates the spread to other cities.
Occupy Wall Street is a long way from becoming a successful social movement—one that lasts and drives real change. But many thought the spark would die almost immediately, and that isn’t the case. The spread to over 70 cities indicates the breadth of dissatisfaction and discontentment in the nation and elsewhere.
What’s your prediction?
Will the Occupy Wall Street movement eventually fizzle?
Will it instigate real social change?
Originally published at www.OurValues.org, an online experiment in civil dialogue on American values.