The News Interest Index is an ongoing project of the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press which builds on the Center's longstanding research into public attentiveness to major news stories and examines news interest as it relates to the news media's agenda.

PublicationsMarch 18, 2009

Public Sees More of a Mix of Good and Bad Economic News

Summary of Findings After months of bleak economic news, an increasing proportion of Americans now say they are hearing a mix of good and bad economic news, while fewer say they are hearing mostly bad news. As has been the case for the last few months, very few say they are hearing mostly good news […]

PublicationsMarch 12, 2009

Many Would Shrug if Their Local Newspaper Closed

Summary of Findings As many newspapers struggle to stay economically viable, fewer than half of Americans (43%) say that losing their local newspaper would hurt civic life in their community “a lot.” Even fewer (33%) say they would personally miss reading the local newspaper a lot if it were no longer available. Not unexpectedly, those […]

PublicationsMarch 5, 2009

States’ Budget Woes Register With Public

Summary of Findings With Americans closely tracking news about the struggling economy, most are aware of the impact the recession is having on state and local budgets and the burgeoning federal deficit. A majority (57%) says they have heard “a lot” about worsening state and local budget problems as governments at all levels struggle to […]

PublicationsFebruary 26, 2009

Many Say Government on Right Track on Economy

Summary of Findings One month into President Obama’s administration, Americans on balance say the government is on the right track in the way it is handling the nation’s difficult economic problems. Nearly half (47%) says the government is on the right track in the way it is handling economic problems, while about a third (34%) […]

PublicationsFebruary 19, 2009

Most Feel a Personal Stake in Tracking Economic News

Summary of Findings Americans continue to follow news about the economic crisis closely because they feel it is directly relevant to their lives. More than eight-in-ten (85%) say even when the economic news is bad they feel better knowing what’s going on, while 77% say they need to stay on top of economic news because […]

PublicationsFebruary 11, 2009

Stimulus News Seen As More Negative Than Positive

Summary of Findings As the contentious debate over President Obama’s $800 billion economic stimulus plan played out in Congress over the past week, more Americans were hearing bad things than good things about the legislation. Close to half (48%) of the public says that what they were reading and hearing about the plan in the […]

PublicationsFebruary 4, 2009

Policy Issues Overshadow Personal Stories in Obama’s First Weeks

Summary of Findings The public focused much more on President Obama’s major policy proposals and decisions than on lighter, more personal stories about the new president and his family in the early days of his administration. Nearly seven-in-ten Americans (69%) say they heard a lot about Obama’s push for quick action on his economic stimulus […]

PublicationsJanuary 28, 2009

Inauguration Outdraws Interest in Economy

Summary of Findings The public paid very close attention to the inauguration of Barack Obama as president last week, while keeping a close eye on the nation’s troubled economy. More than four-in-ten (42%) Americans say the inauguration of the nation’s first black president was the news story they followed most closely. By comparison, 25% say […]

PublicationsJanuary 23, 2009

Plane Crash Draws As Much Interest As Economy

Summary of Findings Americans last week followed the dramatic emergency landing of US Airways flight 1549 in New York’s Hudson River as closely as they followed news about the nation’s number one problem: the troubled economy. One-in-four say the crash – which resulted in no fatalities and turned pilot Chesley Sullenberger into a national hero […]

PublicationsJanuary 15, 2009

Obama Cabinet Appointees Highly Visible

Summary of Findings Public awareness of Barack Obama’s choices for cabinet and other high level posts is substantially higher than awareness of the top picks by George W. Bush and Bill Clinton just before they were first inaugurated. About two-thirds of Americans (65%) can name at least one person that Obama has chosen for a […]

PublicationsJanuary 8, 2009

Mideast Competes with Economy and Obama For Public Interest

Summary of Findings News reports last week about the escalating conflict between Israel and Hamas competed for public attention with stories about the U.S. financial crisis and the Obama presidential transition. Roughly three-in-ten (28%) paid very close attention to news about renewed fighting in the Gaza Strip, while 18% say this was the single news […]