Young people take advantage of school cancellations due to the weather as they slide on Citadel Hill in Halifax on Wednesday

National pastimes dominate news: study

Hockey and weather coverage set Canada's news media apart, study suggests

  • Dec. 16, 2014 6:00 a.m.

By Stephanie Levitz, The Canadian Press

OTTAWA – Two of Canada’s national passions were exceptionally well-represented in the country’s news coverage this year, newly-released media monitoring figures suggest.

Those passions, you ask? Why, hockey and talking about the weather, of course.

The review by Montreal-based Influence Communication found that Canadian media outlets ran some 229 per cent more weather stories than outlets in the rest of the 160 countries surveyed.

“We have big changes in our weather in a year, and it goes from very cold to very hot in a few months,” said Felix Thiffault, an analyst with the media monitoring firm.

“For some other countries, it’s quite stable. If it’s stable, there’s nothing to say about it.”

On the other hand, Canadians always have something to say about hockey, the study found.

Though sports coverage is the No. 1 theme found in news coverage worldwide, a breakdown of top stories in Canada last year shows how often hockey captures the headlines.

Ten of the top 50 stories in Canada in 2014 were about hockey specifically, including various games, trades and coaching decisions, the report found.

A further 11 stories were about sports more generally, including football, soccer, tennis and the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

The company generates lists of top-ranking news based on how much coverage a particular story gets over a one-week period, relative to the number of stories in the media that week.

The deadly Oct. 22 shootings on Parliament Hill had the highest ranking of any story, with 17 per cent of the coverage that week. No other story drew as much attention in a single time period at any other point in the year.

That same story – the fatal shooting of Cpl. Nathan Cirillo at the National War Memorial, followed by the death of gunman Michael Zehaf Bibeau in the halls of the Centre Block – was the top-ranked Canadian item in media outlets outside the country.

Also among the top 10 stories outside Canada was coverage of the death days earlier of a Canadian soldier in St-Jean-Sur-Richlieu; the shooting deaths of three Mounties in Moncton; a deadly fire at a seniors’ residence in Quebec; the saga of CBC radio host Jian Ghomeshi; and the misconduct allegations against two Liberal MPs on Parliament Hill.

The only good-news story to make the list was the election of former governor general Michaelle Jean as head of the Francophonie.

“It’s probably the same around the world – most news you remember coming from other countries is likely to be negative,” Thiffault said.

“Bad news travels fast and far.”

Former Toronto mayor Rob Ford also managed to remain on the top 10 list of Canadian stories making waves around the world. But he was displaced as the most-mentioned person in Canadian media by Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

Just Posted

Chilliwack’s oldest school, Central elementary, celebrates 90 years

Historic photos, scrap books, the school song all part of upcoming 90th celebration

The Scott Kelby Worldwide Photowalk strolls into Chilliwack next month

Photographers meet up to spend a few hours socializing, capturing images, and sharing with like-minded people

Libraries call on reading buddies, dads to take part in literacy programs in Chilliwack

The annual Reading Buddies program and the brand-new Man in the Moon story time start this month

Westbound crash on Highway 1 in Langley causing extreme traffic delays

Collision occured just after Glover Road, cars backed up all the way to 264th Street

Chilliwack Chiefs blow out Prince George Spruce Kings in home opener

Ethan Bowen scored three goals as the Chiefs dumped their Mainland division rivals 6-2.

VIDEO: A moment to remember during the World Lacrosse Men’s Indoor Championship in B.C.

Diego Hernandez Valenzuela’s team lost, but he felt like a winner Saturday

Over 200 Hotel Georgia hospitality workers join ‘open-ended strike’

Unionized workers at Hyatt Regency, Westin Bayshore and Pinnacle Harbourfront have also walked out

B.C. Lions hype-man marks 15 years of cheers

Crazy P cheers, chants, bangs his drum and spreads a message of love

Hiker rescued after spending night on Crown Mountain

North Shore Rescue spotted the woman by helicopter over Hanes Valley

PHOTOS: Steller sea lion with plastic around neck rescued on Vancouver Island

Rescue staff determined the plastic band cut the protected animal’s neck approximately two inches

B.C. VIEWS: School officials join fact-free ‘climate strike’

Students, public get distorted picture of greenhouse gases

Handgun crackdown, health spending and transit plans latest campaign promises

Friday was the end of a busy week on the campaign trail

B.C. woman photographs massive ant swarm on Abbotsford driveway

She asked what the ants were doing? The answer: war

Iconic 90s TV show ‘Friends’ celebrates 25th anniversary

The iconic, decade-long television show aired its first episode 25 years ago today

Most Read