COVID-19 coverage: Top 20 publications covering the pandemic

As a growth marketing agency, we ensure we’re continuously reading the news each day across a number of niches to see what the media cover. Usually, we use this tactic to leverage our digital PR campaigns. This can be identifying reactive opportunities for our clients or ensuring we’re keeping on track with the media to create interesting campaign topics.

According to a recent survey by Censuswide, the UK are becoming more obsessed with reading the news during this time. In the space of a week the number of people who read national news at least once a week has jumped from 46% to 52%. The biggest increase is in the 16-24-year-old age group – 73% of them admit they’re reading these publications more than they usually do. Why is everyone in the UK reading the news more? 80% of respondents said it was to keep up to date with the coronavirus situation.

In light of COVID-19 and the impact it’s having on the news cycle, at Kaizen we wanted to take a deeper look to reveal which news websites are mentioning the pandemic the most. 

This information will be useful to other PRs to see which publications are the most saturated during this period.

To find all of this out, we scraped the news headlines of 10 UK national newspapers and 10 US national papers over a time period of 4 weeks in March 2020. We then counted the number of instances where the keywords ‘coronavirus’ or ‘COVID’ were used and compared this as a frequency measure against the total number of articles pulled in the scrape.

Here’s what we found.

UK analysis

These are the UK publications who have been covering Coronavirus the most over the past 4 weeks:

From our analysis, we can see that 1 in 4 articles from those we scraped from the Daily Mirror featured either ‘coronavirus’ or ‘COVID’ in its title. The split between the two was 22.26% of headlines using Coronavirus and 2.89% for COVID – perhaps reflecting their readership or the late introduction of COVID-19 terminology use over Coronavirus.

We also spotted that Daily Mirror has added Coronavirus to the beginning of their navigation bar so readers can easily access and digest all of the latest updates surrounding the pandemic. Mail Online, Daily Express, Telegraph, Daily Star and the Guardian have also updated their search navigation to feature Coronavirus sections. The Sun has too but named theirs COVID-19. Metro, The Times and iPaper hadn’t added it at all.From our analysis, we can see that 1 in 4 articles from those we scraped from the Daily Mirror featured either ‘coronavirus’ or ‘COVID’ in its title. The split between the two was 22.26% of headlines using Coronavirus and 2.89% for COVID – perhaps reflecting their readership or the late introduction of COVID-19 terminology use over Coronavirus.

US analysis

These are the US publications who have been covering Coronavirus the most:

The largest newspaper in the US, USA Today, mentions Coronavirus every 4th article that they post. 22.29% of USA Today headlines over the past month mention ‘coronavirus’ and 2.86% mention ‘COVID’.Our research shows that the Los Angeles Times is the most likely publication, on both sides of the Atlantic, to be covering Coronavirus related news. Almost a third of news articles published on the Los Angeles Times over the past month have used either ‘coronavirus’ or ‘COVID’ in their headline. The Chicago Tribune follows closely behind at 29%.

Combined analysis

Pulling all of our research into a contained top 20 list, and taking a new top 10 from that, we can see that there’s a pretty even split between the UK and the US. 

But who’s really covering it the most? US publications are covering coronavirus news just slightly more than the UK with 6 out of the top 10 overall publications being US-based. The Los Angeles times takes the overall spot of percentage frequency mentioning the pandemic, whilst UK based Daily Mirror has the highest number of headlines containing ‘Coronavirus’ overall.

Interestingly, the best-performing Coronavirus related article over the past month, according to Buzzsumo, is by Washington Post. At the time of writing, this article which includes data vis outlining a Coronavirus simulator received more than 2k links and had 6.5m engagements. By comparison, Washington Post has only used our pandemic-related phrases in just 14% of their articles.

Whether you’re using the pandemic as a news hook for your campaigns or avoiding the topic altogether, we hope our small study provides some clarity into which news platforms are the most crowded at this time.

To keep up to date with how Kaizen are adapting our tactics during this period, follow us on Twitter or sign up to our newsletter by entering your email address in the footer at the bottom of the page.

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