The economy and the presidential election were the top stories of 2008 -- by a landslide. According to news analyst Andrew Tyndall's Year in Review (tyndallreport.com/yearinreview2008/), the presidential election accounted for nearly 1,600 minutes on the three broadcast evening news programs. That's more than the last five presidential elections.
Stories about President-elect Barack Obama's campaign accounted for the most stories of 2008 on all three of the newscasts with 745. Sen. John McCain was second with 531 minutes and Sen. Hillary Clinton's failed bid for the Democratic nomination was the third most covered story of 2008 with 288 minutes on ABC, CBS and NBC.
Gov. Sarah Palin's surprise VP nomination accounted for 215 minutes.
Stories about the economy -- including the mortgage crisis, Wall Street, gas prices and Detroit and the Fed bailout -- collectively sucked up 2,767 minutes, easily outpacing the last two economic downturns in 1990 (1872 minutes) and 2001 (1775 minutes).
And the most ubiquitous reporter of 2008: NBC's lead Washington correspondent Andrea Mitchell who was on the NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams for 355 minutes in 2008. (Mitchell also logged hundreds of hours on MSNBC.)