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.

Dec. 30, 2010

Public’s Top Stories of the Decade – 9/11 and Katrina

Summary of Findings The 9/11 terrorist attacks drew more public interest than any other story in the past decade. In October 2001, a month after the attacks, 78% said they were following news about the story very closely, up slightly from the week after the attacks (74%). The devastating hurricanes that hit the Gulf Coast […]

Dec. 21, 2010

Top Stories of 2010: Haiti Earthquake, Gulf Oil Spill

Dec. 14, 2010

Tax Cut Deal Captures Public and Media Attention

Interest in WikiLeaks Down

Dec. 8, 2010

Most Say WikiLeaks Release Harms Public Interest

Mixed Reactions to Media Coverage

Nov. 24, 2010

Public Focused on Economy, Election Impact

Most Aware of Energy Drink Warnings

Nov. 17, 2010

Midterm Elections Still Top Public Interest

Summary of Findings The public continued to focus most closely on the outcome of the midterm elections last week as news coverage highlighted their impact on the balance of power and the agenda in Washington. A quarter of the public (25%) says they followed news about the election outcome more closely than any other major […]

Nov. 10, 2010

Election Results Draw Big Interest, Heavy Coverage

Summary of Findings The results of the midterm elections dominated both the public’s interest and media attention last week as Republicans easily won control of the House while making big gains in the Senate and in many statehouses. Fully 43% say they followed news about the election outcome more closely than any other news, according […]

Nov. 3, 2010

News Coverage Surpasses Interest at Campaign’s End

Summary of Findings Both the public and the media focused most closely last week on the congressional elections as Tuesday’s midterm vote approached. Still, the public’s interest in election news did not increase in the final days of the campaign, despite heavy news coverage. The latest News Interest Index survey, conducted among 1,003 adults from […]

Oct. 27, 2010

Public Keeps Focus on Economy, Media on Elections

Summary of Findings While the media provided heavy coverage of the congressional elections last week, the public continued to track news about the nation’s struggling economy more closely than news about the midterm vote. About four-in-ten (41%) say they followed news about the economy very closely last week, while 30% say they followed news about […]

Oct. 20, 2010

Miners’ Rescue Dominates News Interest

Summary of Findings The dramatic rescue of 33 Chilean miners trapped underground for more than two months dominated the public’s news interest last week, while the media focused on both the miners’ saga and the midterm Congressional elections. With the Nov. 2 elections fast approaching, the percent of the public tracking election news very closely […]

Oct. 14, 2010

Fewer Journalists Stand Out in Fragmented News Universe

Summary of Findings Reflecting today’s fragmented news landscape, about half of the public offers no specific answer when asked to name the journalist or newsperson they most admire. No journalist is named by more than 5% of the public in response to an open-ended question. While individual mentions are few, the most frequently named journalists […]

Oct. 7, 2010

Public Focuses More on Economy than Election

Summary of Findings The 2010 congressional elections dominated news coverage last week, but not the public’s attention. Americans continued to focus most closely on news about the nation’s struggling economy and about four-in-ten (39%) say news reports portray the economy “about the way it really is.” Smaller, roughly equal percentages say the media make the […]

Sep. 29, 2010

Elections Dominate Coverage, Not Public Interest

Summary of Findings While the 2010 midterm congressional elections dominated media coverage last week, the public focused more on news about the nation’s struggling economy. Nearly a quarter (23%) of the public says they followed news about the economy more closely than any other major story. Just 6% say they followed news about this year’s […]

Sep. 22, 2010

2010 Vote Seen as More Important Than Most

Summary of Findings About two-thirds of the public sees coverage of this year’s elections as focused primarily on strategy and conflict rather than candidate positions, while a comparable percentage says the 2010 congressional elections are more important than most. Nearly six-in-ten (58%) say news coverage of politics makes them angry. Still, few (36%) say election […]

Sep. 15, 2010

Koran Burning Plans Grab Media, Public Attention

Summary of Findings As the nation marked the ninth anniversary of the Sept. 11 terror attacks last week, many in the public and the media focused more on current tensions over Islam in America – most notably plans by a Florida pastor to burn copies of the Koran. Nearly two-in-ten (17%) say they followed the […]

Sep. 9, 2010

Perceptions of Economic News Remain Mixed

Summary of Findings The public’s perceptions of economic news remain mixed, but continue to be much more negative than they were earlier this year. About half of the public (54%) says they are hearing a mix of good and bad news about the economy these days, while 41% say they are hearing mostly bad news. […]

Sep. 1, 2010

Mosque Debate, Egg Recall Top Public Interest

Summary of Findings No one story dominated the public’s news interest last week, as several story lines – including the debate over a mosque near Ground Zero in New York and the recall of hundreds of millions of eggs – vied for Americans’ attention. About two-in-ten (19%) say they followed the debate over plans for […]

Aug. 25, 2010

Mosque Debate Tops Coverage, But Not News Interest

Summary of Findings While the media focused on the emotionally-charged debate over plans to build an Islamic mosque and cultural center near the World Trade Center site in New York City last week, the public continued to track the Gulf oil leak. About a third of the public (34%) says they followed news about the […]

Aug. 19, 2010

Many Say Coverage of the Poor and Minorities Is Too Negative

Summary of Findings In evaluating news coverage of different groups, pluralities of Americans say that coverage of poor people and Muslims is too negative, while somewhat smaller percentages say the same about coverage of blacks and Hispanics. Among eight groups tested, whites and middle-class people are the only groups that majorities say are treated fairly […]

Aug. 11, 2010

More Hearing Good News about Gulf Spill

Summary of Findings In the days following BP’s latest—and apparently successful—effort to seal the oil well in the Gulf of Mexico, public perceptions of news about the spill have become somewhat more positive. Only a quarter of Americans (25%) say they are hearing mostly good news about the oil spill, but that is more than […]