Our ADD Media

Dec 18 2012 @ 8:00am

News_Attention_Span

Danny Hayes expects Newtown to soon be forgotten by the press:

Not surprisingly, each incident resulted in a spike in articles about gun control. For instance, in the week of the Virginia Tech shooting, 945 news stories in the database mentioned the issue. But as time went on, gun control received less and less attention. Within five weeks, coverage was nearly back to where it had been before the shooting. The pattern is similar for the Tucson and Aurora attacks.

This phenomenon – the media’s intense interest in, and subsequent boredom with, a public policy problem – is known as the "issue-attention cycle." A dramatic event, such as a shooting, brings an issue to the media’s attention, prompts an avalanche of news, and then an inevitable decline in coverage.