There’s no doubt that 2022 was an extraordinarily newsworthy year. The War in Ukraine, the death of Queen Elizabeth II, and a Federal Election that saw a change of government would have each been mammoth news stories in separate years, but collectively they are just the tip of the news iceberg that was 2022.
So which of these stories topped the year as the biggest of them all? Well, it was the story that we spent the year trying to move on from, yet still seemed to flow through into so many aspects of our lives: the COVID-19 pandemic.
More than twice as prominent as the second-biggest news story, the War in Ukraine, the impacts of the pandemic, particularly in the early months of 2022, cemented it as the story of the year, for the third year running.
That’s not to say that other news stories didn’t break through. At various times, the War in Ukraine, the Federal Election, the death of Queen Elizabeth II, and the floods that hit across Australia, all dominated the headlines. But none of these stories achieved as dominant a share of the headlines as COVID did in the opening months of 2022, as Australia adjusted to living with the pandemic.
Indeed, the impact of COVID can be seen in many of the other top stories of this year. The handling of the pandemic was a major theme during the Federal Election campaign, while inflationary pressures, the fifth-biggest story of the year, and Novak Djokovic being denied entry into Australia, the ninth-biggest, both stemmed directly from the impacts of COVID.
When it comes to the biggest one-day stories, it is no surprise to see the death of Queen Elizabeth II taking the top two spots, although the pandemic features strongly again, with the next five biggest one-day news stories coming during the COVID wave in January.
Biggest stories on a single day in 2022
|1||Death of The Queen||9 September|
|2||Death of The Queen||10 September|
|3||COVID summer wave||5 January|
|4||COVID summer wave||6 January|
|5||COVID summer wave||12 January|
|6||COVID summer wave||7 January|
|7||COVID summer wave||8 January|
|8||Shane Warne dies||5 March|
|9||Death of The Queen||11 September|
|10||Invasion of Ukraine||26 February|
Month-to-month, the omnipresence of COVID is once again evident, with it being the biggest story in seven months this year, although it’s overall share of headlines dropped significantly after the first few months of 2022.
Biggest stories in each month of 2022
|Month||Story||Hours in headline slots in month|
|March||War in Ukraine||17,064|
|September||Death of The Queen||11,805|
|December (to date)||COVID||2,206|
Looking at the newsmakers of 2022, Russian President Vladimir Putin took top spot, due to his invasion of Ukraine in February. He was closely followed by United States President, Joe Biden, and then by former Prime Minister Scott Morrison, and current Prime Minister Anthony Albanese.
Only Putin, Morrison and Albanese secured extremely high peaks in prominence and a consistent presence in the headlines in 2022, cementing them as the main characters in Australian news this year.
While the death of Queen Elizabeth II was the single-biggest one day news event of the year, Vladimir Putin was more prominent in the news on the day the invasion of Ukraine commenced than anyone else at any point during the year.
Most prominent people on a single day in 2022
|1||Vladimir Putin||25 February|
|2||Queen Elizabeth II||9 September|
|3||Vladimir Putin||26 February|
|4||Vladimir Putin||27 February|
|5||Vladimir Putin||28 February|
|6||Vladimir Putin||24 February|
|7||Queen Elizabeth II||10 September|
|8||Queen Elizabeth II||11 September|
|9||Vladimir Putin||23 February|
|10||Scott Morrison||22 May|
Six people were the most-prominent in a given month of 2022, with Anthony Albanese most frequently topping a month, doing so four times during the year.
The main character each month of 2022
|September||Queen Elizabeth II|
|December (to date)||Anthony Albanese|
With many of the themes that shaped the headlines in 2022 set to flow on into 2023, the news cycle won’t be slowing down any time soon. For organisations looking to understand and manage their media presence across 2022 and into 2023, get in touch with us at Streem to see what our market-leading realtime media monitoring platform can do for your organisation.