2011 was an exceptional year for news. Events overseas brought about dramatic change, such as the Arab Spring, the Tsunami in Japan, and the death of Bin Laden and Gaddafi. On the domestic side, there was the Giffords shooting in Arizona and seemingly multiple political battles and stalemates in the US Congress.
2011 was also arguably a transformational year in the way that people access the latest on major news events. Facebook feeds and Twitter updates have become a new competitor with more traditional news outlets. Still, traditional media such as television and radio remain the dominant source for the latest news and information. This week-by-week chart for 2011 shows how Arbitron's PPM measured the changes in Average Quarter-hour listening levels for NPR Newsmagazine stations in the top 25 markets. Not all major news events led to peaks in radio listening levels, but the year-high for NPR member stations stemmed around the Tsunami in Japan and the death of Bin Laden.
Ben Robins is the Research Manager for NPR Programming.