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Overall, the 2008 Olympics received extensive and prominent coverage by the analyzed newspapers during the first week. The vast majority of newspapers offered at least one front page story daily, positioned those stories prominently high, and allocated substantial space to them. Across world regions, China offered the most extensive and prominent coverage on all counts, while Africa and the Arabic world offered the least number of stories and the least prominence. Asian countries also offered a high number of stories and a large amount of space for the coverage, while the US-EU and Latin America only offered a high number of daily stories.

Chart 1.1 shows that only about 10% of the newspaper front pages had no Olympics stories during the first week of coverage, while 44% had at least one story, and 46% had more than one story.

Chart 1.1

In addition, the majority of stories were prominently positioned (Chart 1.2). More than half (57%) of the stories were published in the top area of the front page, while 29% were located somewhere in the middle, and only 13% were positioned at the bottom.

Chart 1.2

Chart 1.3 shows most of the stories covered a substantial area of the front page. About 42% of them were deemed large (took up more than 1/3 or 33% of the front page's area), and 31% were considered medium-sized stories (1/4 to 1/3 or 25-33%), and about a quarter were small (less than 1/4 or 25%).

Chart 1.3

Regionally, when it came to the number of stories published on front pages, China and the EU/US ranked first with virtually all of their first week front pages publishing one or more stories (Chart 1.4). Other Asian countries and Latin America closely followed with 97% and 95% of their front pages respectively offering one or more Olympics stories daily. The coverage dropped substantially in the Arabic world and in Africa to 62% and 60%, respectively.

Chart 1.4

Similarly, China offered the locally important event the highest level of prominence with 84% of stories positioned in the top section of the newspaper front pages (Chart 1.5). The geographically proximate (other) Asian countries followed closely with 82% of the stories positioned at the top. The prominence dropped substantially in the other regions with the US/EU positioning 53% of their Olympics stories at the top, followed by Africa (49%) and the Arabic world (48%). Latin America gave the Olympics the least prominence with only 38% of its front page stories located at the top.

Chart 1.5

China by far ranked first when it came to the size of its front page stories, with 74% of them considered large or greater than 1/3 of the front page (Chart 1.6). Other Asian countries came in a distant second with 43% of their stories considered large, followed by Latin America (37%), the EU-US (34%), and Africa (23%). The Arabic world had only 8% of the Olympics stories taking up a large space on the front page.

Chart 1.6

What topics and frames did the newspaper front pages focus on?