So which stories received the most coverage from the network evening newscasts in 2010?
The oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico was by far the most covered story of the year, drawing 1,410 minutes of coverage from the three newscasts, though “NBC Nightly News” led the way with 549 minutes, nearly 100 more than CBS.
The oil spill was followed by the earthquake in Haiti, which drew 426 minutes of coverage, and the war in Afghanistan, which drew 416 minutes. “ABC World News” and “Nightly” dedicated more time to Haiti, while CBS spent slightly more time on Afghanistan.
Rounding out the top five stories was coverage of health care reform legislation, which drew 307 minutes of coverage, and winter weather, which drew 249 minutes.
The 2010 midterm elections, which so utterly dominated the cable news cycle, placed seventh with 193 minutes of coverage across the three newscasts.
One other story of note was the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, which received only 17 minutes on ABC and 18 minutes on CBS, as compared to 84 minutes on NBC. That probably has something to do with the fact that NBC owned the rights to the games, and as such broadcast “Nightly” from Vancouver.