Swine flu named year’s top Swedish news story

Swine flu beat out both the June death of Michael Jackson and the Stockholm helicopter heist in September as the top Swedish news story of 2009, according to a new study.

Swine flu named year's top Swedish news story

Looking back on the last ten years as a whole, the 2005 tsunami was the most covered event of the decade.

Media analysis firm Infopac has created a news barometer based on the headlines in the major Swedish newspapers, television shows and radio programs over the last 10 years.

The study not only tracks which events made top headlines over the years but also how they were covered by the media.

In 2009, swine flu was the top news item 200 times, with more than twice as much coverage as Israel’s assault on Gaza in January, which in turn beat out both the crisis of the Swedish automobile industry and the yet-to-be determined fate of Swedish automaker Saab.

Another headline grabbing story was the September 2009 helicopter robbery of a cash depot south of Stockholm in which several suspects stole a helicopter, smashed into the building, and they made off with undisclosed amounts of cash.

Several suspects are now in the custody of Swedish police who continue to investigate the dramatic robbery.

Over the entire 2000s, the 2005 tsunami and its political aftermath made top headlines 560 times.

The tsunami was followed in popularity by the Iraq war, the 2003 murder of Swedish foreign minister Anna Lindh in a Stockholm department store, and riots which ravaged the streets of Gothenburg during the during the June 2001 EU summit, resulting in three people being shot and injured by police.

The study also reveals that around 10 percent of the top headlines in Sweden’s morning newspapers dealt with foreign news, business and medicine/health.

Broadcast media, on the other hand, lead with international news at 20 percent of the time, while almost 29 percent of the top stories covered by evening newspapers were crime-related.

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Google News to return to Spain after seven-year spat

Google announced Wednesday the reopening of its news service in Spain next year after the country amended a law that imposed fees on aggregators such as the US tech giant for using publishers’ content.

Google News to return to Spain after seven-year spat
Google argues its news site drives readers to Spanish newspaper and magazine websites and thus helps them generate advertising revenue.Photo: Kenzo TRIBOUILLARD / AFP

The service closed in Spain in December 2014 after legislation passed requiring web platforms such as Google and Facebook to pay publishers to reproduce content from other websites, including links to their articles that describe a story’s content.

But on Tuesday the Spanish government approved a European Union copyright law that allows third-party online news platforms to negotiate directly with content providers regarding fees.

This means Google no longer has to pay a fee to Spain’s entire media industry and can instead negotiate fees with individual publishers.

Writing in a company blog post on Wednesday, Google Spain country manager Fuencisla Clemares welcomed the government move and announced that as a result “Google News will soon be available once again in Spain”.

“The new copyright law allows Spanish media outlets — big and small — to make their own decisions about how their content can be discovered and how they want to make money with that content,” she added.

“Over the coming months, we will be working with publishers to reach agreements which cover their rights under the new law.”

News outlets struggling with dwindling print subscriptions have long seethed at the failure of Google particularly to pay them a cut of the millions it makes from ads displayed alongside news stories.

Google argues its news site drives readers to newspaper and magazine websites and thus helps them generate advertising revenue and find new subscribers.