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

TODAY: Walk on the Coldest Night of the Year

Annual fundraiser supports those struggling with poverty and homelessness in White Rock

VIDEO: Serious roll-over crash in Newton

Crash reported at 60th Avenue and 168th Street in Surrey involving three vehicles.

Surrey sex assault strangler gets second “indeterminate” prison sentence

Blake Randall Wright had already been designated a “dangerous offender” on Dec. 11, 1984

Surrey Women in Business Award finalists announced

Former Tory prime minister Kim Campbell is keynote speaker at the event

MLA calls Fraser Health meeting ‘a sham’ as residents exit early

Organizers defend decision to relocate laboratory from Ocean Park

Snow blankets South Surrey

Streets covered as city clears way for motorists

BCHL Today: Cowichan Caps play spoiler and Nanaimo wins 10th straight game

BCHL Today is a (near) daily look at what’s going on around the league and the junior A world.

Federal budget to unveil incentive for 5-week second parent leave: official

Goal behind the measure is to give parents more incentive to share child-rearing responsibilities

Notley says Alberta watching B.C. court bid closely, will get no free ride on it

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley ended the three-week ban on B.C. wine, calming the trade war

Trudeau ends troubled India trip in his comfort zone of hockey and youth

The players, 18-25, came to New Delhi from Ladakhi in northern India, as part of outreach program

OLYMPIC ROUNDUP: Kim Boutin named Canada’s flag bearer for closing ceremony

Two more medals for Canada, including the bronze in men’s hockey

Team Canada’s Dave Duncan apologizes after drunken joyride in Pyeongchang

Duncan, his wife Maja and Canadian technical coach William Raine detained by South Korean police

Heavy snowfall for Coquihalla

Kelowna - Snowfall is expected to continue on the highway until Sunday

Czechmate: Canada wins men’s Olympic hockey bronze

Vernon’s Andrew Ebbett scores twice as Canada beats Czech Republic 6-4

Most Read