Obama's First 100 Days: Top Stories
What do President Barack Obama's first 100 days in office say about how he will lead the country for the rest of his term? Which promises has he delivered on? Which has he neglected?
As news organizations, pundits and political observers weighed in on these questions, our community looked at how the media covered President Obama's performance since he assumed office in January. Last week, from April 27th to May 4th, we joined forces with Pulitzer Prize winner PolitiFact and the University of Nevada at Reno in a News Hunt for the best journalism on Obama's First 100 Days.
While journalists and scholars dispute the importance of the 100-day mark, this closely watched period in politics was nevertheless a gold mine of in-depth news, analysis and opinion on America's new president. Our community reviewed 84 stories on the Obama Administration and rated 39 of them -- 26 news and 13 opinion pieces. By our standards, the overall quality of these stories was above average -- all but six received a NewsTrust rating of 3.5 (out of 5) or higher.
Our top news stories tended to avoid comprehensive coverage of the Obama Administration where others didn't. Each publication honed in on a trend, theme or set of issues, rather than assess Obama's performance on the full gamut of topics related to the presidency.
Our partners at PolitiFact identified more than 500 promises Obama made on the campaign trail in 2008 and have tracked their progress since his inauguration. As of Obama's 100th day -- which came Wed., April 29 -- Obama had kept 27 of those promises and broken six, according to the website. PolitiFact summed up its findings in three news analyses ('Obama and the big picture,' 'Obama's promises kept,' and 'Obama's promises broken') and one staff editorial ('Obama's two biggest promises'). All four were rated highly by our community.
In a similar analysis, '100 days of spin,' the website FactCheck.org examined a series of recent public statements made by Obama -- and about Obama. The site found several instances in which the president and his political opponents have made false claims, many revolving around the economy. Journalism.org, meanwhile, concluded that Obama "has enjoyed substantially more positive media coverage than either Bill Clinton or George Bush" in their first months in the White House, an assessment based on a survey of 49 news outlets.
Other top stories were more thematic, looking beyond the raw facts behind Obama's first 100 days. The Wall Street Journal focused on the breakneck pace at which the White House has operated since the new president stepped in -- "It's been like flying a plane while you're redesigning it," the paper quoted one administration official as saying. The New Yorker profiled Peter Orszag, Obama's budget director, calling him "unlikely guardian of Obamaism itself." Congressional Quarterly distilled Obama's governing style to four "defining characteristics," and Wired Magazine graded Obama on six issues near and dear to its editorial board.
Our top opinion was New York Times reporter David Leonhardt's one-on-one interview with Obama on the impact his economic plans could have on Americans. NewsTrust reviewer Mark Steele called Obama's answers "amazingly articulate." Leonhardt "knows how to ask good questions," he said, adding, "The unvarnished Obama is a pleasure to listen to."
Here's a sampling of our top news and opinion on Obama's First 100 Days:
First 100 Days: Obama and the big picture
Running the White House at full tilt
Wall Street Journal
What Obama has shown, so far, about his style of governing?
Obama's first 100 days: How the president fared in the press vs. Clinton and Bush
100 days of spin
Letter from Washington: Money talks
Obama's 100 days: High marks for science, low for privacy
After the great recession - an interview with President Obama
New York Times
School of Hock
First 100 days: Obama's two biggest promises
How to judge a guy in 100 days
Comedy Central, Daily Show
Thanks to our Partners!
We’re very grateful to Bill Adair and his readers at PolitiFact, Donica Mensing and her students at the Reynolds School of Journalism in the University of Nevada at Reno, for their wonderful contributions to the Obama First 100 Days News Hunt.
It was an absolute pleasure to work with these world-class partners. In addition to providing excellent news analysis and opinion in its 'First 100 Days' series, PolitiFact brought 152 new members into our community, many of whom posted some really thoughtful story reviews. Welcome aboard, and thanks for helping make this News Hunt a success!
We're also pleased to report that since we launched our new Facebook Connect feature two weeks ago, 142 people have signed up or logged in through Facebook -- and are sharing NewsTrust reviews with their Facebook friends. We invite you to join them and share your reviews with your friends, as well as visit our Facebook fan page, which now has over a hundred fans. Thanks for showing such interest in our cause -- keep sharing the news!
If you haven't checked out these features yet, read all about them here.
This Week: Education Reform
This week, we're hosting a News Hunt on Education Reform with our partners at NOW and PBS Engage. Can you help us pick the best journalism on how to fix our schools? Join us and our host Kristin Gorski to find quality news and opinions for this News Hunt, which runs through Sunday, May 10th. Please review (or submit) our recommended stories on our Education Reform page.
-- Derek Hawkins, with Fabrice Florin and Kaizar Campwala