How the media is covering coronavirus—the top U.S. and UK newspapers for mentions

by | Apr 7, 2020 | Covid-19, Public Relations

Just like every other aspect of our culture these days, the media is consumed with coverage of COVID-19. For PR, that has created some newsjacking opportunities (when done appropriately), but moreso, obstacles to getting ink for clients. Which publications are the most saturated during this period? London-based growth marketing firm Kaizen takes a look to reveal which news websites are mentioning the pandemic the most.

The agency scraped the news headlines of 10 UK national newspapers and 10 U.S. national papers over a time period of 4 weeks in March 2020, and then counted the number of instances where the keywords “coronavirus” or “COVID” were used and compared this as a frequency measure against the total number of articles pulled in the scrape.

Here’s a look at what they found:

U.S. analysis

These are the U.S. publications that have been covering coronavirus the most:

How the media is covering coronavirus—the top U.S. and UK newspapers for mentions

The largest newspaper in the U.S., USA Today, mentions coronavirus every 4th article that they post: 22.29 percent of USA Today headlines over the past month mention “coronavirus” and 2.86 percent mention “COVID.” But the Los Angeles Times is the most likely publication on either side of the pond to be covering coronavirus-related news. Almost a third of news articles published on the LA Times over the past month have used either “coronavirus” or “COVID” in their headline. The Chicago Tribune follows closely behind at 29 percent.

UK analysis

These are the UK publications who have been covering coronavirus the most over the past 4 weeks:

How the media is covering coronavirus—the top U.S. and UK newspapers for mentions

The analysis found that 1 in 4 articles from those scraped from the Daily Mirror featured either “coronavirus” or “COVID” in its title. The split between the two was 22.26 percent of headlines using coronavirus and 2.89 percent for COVID—perhaps reflecting their readership or the late introduction of COVID-19 terminology use over coronavirus.

The Daily Mirror has added coronavirus to the beginning of their navigation bar so readers can easily access and digest all of the latest updates surrounding the pandemic. Mail Online, Daily Express, Telegraph, Daily Star and the Guardian have also updated their search navigation to feature coronavirus sections. The Sun has as well, but named theirs COVID-19. Metro, The Times and iPaper hadn’t added it at all.

Combined analysis

Pulling all of this research into a contained Top 20 list, and taking a new Top 10 from that, the research reveals a pretty even split between the UK and the U.S.

How the media is covering coronavirus—the top U.S. and UK newspapers for mentions

But who’s really covering it the most?

U.S. publications are covering coronavirus news just slightly more than the UK, with 6 out of the top 10 overall publications being U.S.-based. The LA Times takes the overall spot of percentage frequency mentioning the pandemic, while the UK’s Daily Mirror has the highest number of headlines containing “coronavirus” overall.

Interestingly, the best-performing coronavirus-related article over the past month, according to Buzzsumo, is by Washington Post—this article, which includes data outlining a coronavirus simulator, received more than 2,000 links and had 6.5m engagements. By comparison, the Washington Post has only used the pandemic-related phrases in just 14 percent of their articles.

A version of this article originally appeared on the Kaizen blog.

Richard Carufel
Richard Carufel is editor of Bulldog Reporter and the Daily ’Dog, one of the web’s leading sources of PR and marketing communications news and opinions. He has been reporting on the PR and communications industry for over 17 years, and has interviewed hundreds of journalists and PR industry leaders. Reach him at richard.carufel@bulldogreporter.com; @BulldogReporter


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