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.

May. 3, 2007

Public Dissatisfied With Iraq Debate Coverage

Summary of Findings The debate over future Iraq war policy took center stage in Washington and in the national news last week. However, public interest in the story was modest at best as Americans expressed frustration with the quality of the debate and the clarity of the competing arguments. Only 18% of the public paid […]

May. 2, 2007

The GOP’s Invisible Men

Summary of Findings Heading into their first debate Thursday evening, what Republican candidates for the presidency need most is to gain visibility. The latest News Interest Index survey finds that two Democratic candidates – Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama – continue to be far and away the most visible, even to Republicans. When asked to […]

Apr. 25, 2007

Widespread Interest in Virginia Tech Shootings

Summary of Findings The shootings at Virginia Tech University overshadowed all other news stories last week – both in terms of coverage and public interest. Fully 45% of Americans paid very close attention to the tragedy and 56% said it was the single news story they followed more closely than any other last week. However, […]

Apr. 18, 2007

Most Say Imus’s Punishment Was Appropriate

Summary of Findings Americans, both black and white, generally agree with the punishment radio host Don Imus received for the racist and sexist remarks he made about the Rutgers University’s women basketball team. Nonetheless, there are substantial racial differences in views of Imus’s punishment, and an even bigger gap in opinions about news media’s coverage […]

Apr. 12, 2007

High Interest in Early Campaign

Summary of Findings High-profile candidates and the accelerated pace of the 2008 presidential campaign have drawn the public into the race far earlier than in past election cycles. In this week’s survey, 55% of Americans say they are tracking news about the candidates for the 2008 presidential election very or fairly closely. Public interest has […]

Apr. 5, 2007

Little Confidence in Military or Press Depictions of Iraq

Summary of Findings Four years into the Iraq war, most Americans say they have little or no confidence in the information they receive – from either the military or the media – about how things are going on the ground. Fewer than half (46%) say they have a great deal or fair amount of confidence […]

Mar. 29, 2007

Attorney Firings: Important but Not Interesting

Summary of Findings Public interest in the Iraq war remained high last week as the country marked the fourth anniversary of the conflict, and the House of Representatives passed a controversial war funding bill. At the same time the fallout from the firing of eight U.S. attorneys by the Justice Department failed to gain much […]

Mar. 21, 2007

Attorney Firings Stir Limited Public Interest

Summary of Findings The controversy over the firing of eight U.S. attorneys is not attracting strong public interest in spite of intense media coverage of the story. In fact, the story evokes a typical response from the public when compared with news interest in past Washington scandals. Amid calls for Attorney General Alberto Gonzales’ resignation, […]

Mar. 15, 2007

Public Tunes In to Walter Reed Story

Summary of Findings News about problems with the medical care of wounded Iraq war veterans drew the public’s attention last week. More than three-in-ten Americans (31%) paid very close attention to news about conditions at Walter Reed Army Medical Center and more general reports about how soldiers returning from Iraq are being cared for. And […]

Mar. 8, 2007

Today’s Journalists Less Prominent

Summary of Findings The increasingly fragmented media landscape has diminished the prominence of the nation’s top journalists. Two decades ago, the vast majority of Americans had a “favorite” journalist or news person, and the top picks were representatives of the big three broadcast television networks. Today, only a slim majority can name the journalist they […]

Mar. 1, 2007

Anna Nicole Audience Praises Press Coverage

Summary of Findings Anna Nicole Smith’s death and the bizarre aftermath continue to fascinate a significant segment of the American public and the mainstream media. During the second full week of coverage of the story, interest remained steady and coverage actually increased – as portions of the legal proceedings concerning her body were carried live […]

Feb. 23, 2007

Iraq Most Closely Followed and Covered News Story

Summary of Findings The public and the news media divided their attention last week among the top international stories, harsh winter weather, politics and the ongoing saga surrounding the death of Anna Nicole Smith. The Iraq war remained the No. 1 story both in terms of public interest and news coverage, however, the public hung […]

Feb. 16, 2007

Too Much Anna Nicole, But the Saga Attracts an Audience

Summary of Findings Most Americans feel the press has gone overboard in covering the death of Anna Nicole Smith. Fully 61% believe the Smith story has been overcovered, far more than the number saying that about any other recent story. Even so, a sizable minority (11%) followed Smith’s death more closely than any of last […]