How the war in Ukraine has become a major world news. The Economist is analyzing media consumption for 2022.

Economist journalists analyzed data from Chartbeat, a company that aggregates global media, and calculated how many hours people spent reading various news in 2022. The war in Ukraine was at the top with a huge margin.

In the past year, as in 2020 and 2021, a single main plot dominated the news. But this was not coronavirus, as in previous years, but Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

These data come from a database of 6.5 million articles on 32 news topics, collected by the analytical company Chartbeat. In total, people have spent around one billion hours reading them, and 278 million of those have gone to "war" articles (roughly the same proportion as covid in 2021). On the day of the Russian invasion started, 6.4 million hours were spent reading about war - more than the first days of news about Queen Elizabeth II's death and Will Smith slapping Chris Rock at the Oscars combined. The audience for war articles gradually decreased until May and since then people spend roughly 550 thousand hours a day reading them. This is slightly higher than daily figures for men's World Cup Soccer Championship.

Among other leaders of the ranking, several topics related to US internal policy stand out, which is largely due to Chartbeat's focus on English-speaking markets. The US midterm elections attracted 145 million hours of reading, while Joe Biden gathered 137 million. Donald Trump also achieved quite unexpected results: people spent 100 million hours reading about him, approximately the same amount as for all articles regarding UK internal policy during a 50-day period when three Prime Ministers changed.

As for the major theme of last year, coronavirus fatigue set in around the same time as when war broke out in Ukraine. At the beginning of January 2022, the most popular topic was the "Omikron" strain: on 6 January 800 thousand people read news about it. Since then, interest in coronavirus has clearly declined, although apparently it caused no fewer deaths than in 2020. Only protests against lockdown in China were able to temporarily revive readers' interest again.

Original : War replaces disease as the world’s most newsworthy subject

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