If you’re a politician embroiled in a scandal, the rapidly moving news cycle might be a blessing.
A National Public Radio analysis of issues mentioned by reporters during daily White House press briefings found the media’s attention span for various scandals and stories often wanes after just a few weeks.
In six charts, NPR shows how the media’s focus changed throughout 2014, with reporters focusing first on the Affordable Care Act, followed by Ukraine, the Department of Veterans Affairs scandal, the flood of unaccompanied children crossing the southern border, the terrorist organization ISIS and, most recently, Ebola.
Rick Edmonds, a media business analyst at the Poynter Institute, told The Daily Signal the limited life cycle of news stories has been a trend for a long time but has been heightened by the emergence of digital media and the fast-changing news cycle.
“I don’t know if this is brand new, but [the White House press corps] obviously move as a pack. So when something is hot, everyone wants to get a piece of it and an angle on it,” Edmonds said.
He said the limited access from the Obama White House likely has heightened the focus on what the press is covering. Still, he contended that some stories merit follow-ups and continued attention.
“It’s good practice—though not always done—that editors keep track of stories that may have faded from media attention and that ought to be followed up in a few more months,” Edmonds said. “They might not be doing that as much.”