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2008 A Big News Year

22 December 2008

2008 A Big News Year

2008 was New Zealand’s biggest news year for the past five years.

Sixteen of the fifty most closely followed news stories since 2003 all happened in the past 12 months – more than any other year.

Every fortnight since July 2003, UMR Research has asked New Zealanders to rate how closely they followed the main stories covered by the media. Almost 500 news stories have been ranked over that time in the telephone poll of a nationally representative sample of New Zealanders aged 18 years and over.

Unusual weather events, natural disasters and high profile crime stories capture the public’s interest most. 2008 was no exception with the most closely followed stories being the storm that ripped through the North Island in July which was followed closely by 79% of New Zealanders.

The next most closely followed story was the drowning of six students and a teacher at the Outdoor Pursuit Centre near Turangi in April (77% followed this closely) and then the shooting of a liquor store owner in Manurewa in June (74%).

In comparison, the biggest stories followed most closely by people over the past five years were the Central North Island floods in February 2004 (85%), the London bombings in July 2005 (84%) and the Indonesian earthquake and tsunami of January 2005 (83%).

The top 10 stories for 2008 were:

1. The storm that ripped through the North Island in July (79%)
2. The drowning of six students and a teacher at the Outdoor Pursuit Centre (77%)
3. The shooting of a liquor store owner in Manurewa in June (74%).
4= The international economic crisis in October (73%)
4= The shooting of two police officers in Mangere in September (73%)
6. The contaminated milk in China involving Fonterra in September (71%)
7. The truck drivers protest over road user charges in July (70%)
8. The elections in November (69%)
9. The fire at a Hamilton cool-store in April (68%)
10. The Auckland woman killed in a hit and run incident trying to retrieve her stolen handbag in June (67%)


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