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2012 Forecast: What will be the year’s top values issues?

http://www.readthespirit.com/ourvalues/wp-content/uploads/sites/17/2013/03/wpid-0102_ov_Occupy_Wall_Street.jpgOccupy Wall Street movement photograph from New York City, part of a stream of live media spread across the Internet in 2011 by media-savvy activists across the nationwide movement. This image is in public domain courtesy Wikimedia Commons.Happy New Year!
This week, help me with an experiment—a forecast of this year’s top values issues in the news media, popular culture and everyday conversations. This week, I will offer my own list. And your part is: Add to the list! Critique what I’m forecasting. Suggest other top values issues. We’ll revisit the list at mid-year and end-of-year marks to see if our predictions came true.

The forecaster’s rule of thumb is simple: What happened before is likely to happen again. The best prediction of tomorrow’s weather is today’s weather. Applying the same rule of thumb to 2012 tells us that the economy will be the number one issue in the year ahead.

The economy dominated the media in 2011, filling more of the news-hole—the amount of space available for content in news reports—than any other topic, according to the Pew Research Center’s annual journalism report. Pew analyzed almost 46,000 stories to figure out the hottest topics. The economy occupied almost twenty percent (19.6%) of the news-hole. The Occupy Wall Street movement contributed to the coverage of the economy, as we discussed in October 2011.

The economy is also the most important topic on voters’ minds as we enter this election year. Eight of ten likely voters (80%) consider “economic issues to be very important in terms of how they will vote in the next congressional election,” according to a poll by Rasmussen Reports last month. Healthcare takes second place, with two-thirds of likely voters (67%) saying this issue is very important to them.

Do you agree?

Will the economy be the number one topic in 2012?

What is on your list of top values issues this year?

A note of appreciation to our guest writer last week, Terry Gallagher, for his Soupathon series on family traditions, hospitality, community—and great recipes!

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Originally published at www.OurValues.org, an online experiment in civil dialogue on American values.

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