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 2:00 p.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

Surrey RCMP search for missing 17-year-old girl

Mikayla Logan was last seen in Guildford on Tuesday, May 14

GUIDE: Rodeo, community events in Cloverdale this weekend

Bed races, chili cook-off, parade and the rodeo itself

Surrey to begin ‘public engagement process’ on policing transition next week

First in a series of public events set for May 23 at Cloverdale rec centre

Boy, 12, arrested after allegedly threatening another youth with a knife in Cloverdale

This was Thursday at a park in the 17200-block of 61A Avenue, Sergeant Chad Greig told the Now-Leader

Free winter parking, higher summer rates eyed for White Rock waterfront

Councillor calls for more hard data on the impact of trial free parking on Marine Drive businesses

Jeep totalled, four young people in hospital, after single-vehicle crash in Surrey

Mounties have not ruled out any possible factors in what led to the overnight crash

Update: Mother dead, child in critical condition after carbon monoxide poisoning at Shuswap campground

The woman was found unresponsive insider her tent and the youth was taken via air ambulance to hospital

Kelowna RCMP interrogation video brings home reality in ‘visceral way’: former TRC chairman

Video of Mountie interrogating young Indigenous woman disclosing sexual abuse under fire

Canada’s parole officers say correctional system has reached breaking point

About half of Canada’s federal parole officers work inside penitentiaries and correctional institutions

Montreal researchers create audible hockey puck for visually impaired players

Three years ago, Gilles Ouellet came up with the idea for a puck that makes a continuous sound

Former B.C. Greyhound bus drivers head to Penticton for goodbye party

Big bash runs until Sunday, funded by drink cans left behind on busses over the years

Full-scale search underway for missing kayaker on Okanagan Lake

Kelowna Paddle Centre member Zygmunt Janiewicz, 71, failed to return from his ‘daily kayak’ on the lake

ICBC urging drivers to slow down this May long weekend

Speed is number one cause of car crash fatalities: ICBC

Bucks hammer Raptors 125-103 to take 2-0 playoff series lead

Toronto heads home in a hole after second loss to Milwaukee

Most Read