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.

PublicationsAugust 2, 2007

Public Blames Media for Too Much Celebrity Coverage

Summary of Findings An overwhelming majority of the public (87%) says celebrity scandals receive too much news coverage. This criticism generally holds across most major demographic and political groups. Virtually no one thinks there is too little coverage of celebrity scandals. When asked who is most to blame for the amount of coverage these kinds […]

PublicationsJuly 26, 2007

Hillary Clinton Most Visible Presidential Candidate

Summary of Findings The 2008 presidential campaign remained a top tier news story last week both in terms of coverage and public interest. The campaign has been one of the top five most covered news stories for much of the year, and public interest has remained fairly consistent. This past week, the national news media […]

PublicationsJuly 19, 2007

News of the Week Doesn’t Grab Public’s Attention

Summary of Findings While the media focused intently last week on the escalating debate over U.S. policy in Iraq, the public took a typical summer hiatus from the major news stories of the week. The Iraq war, rather than the policy debate, was the news story the public focused on most closely, but even attention […]

PublicationsJuly 12, 2007

Campaign Internet Videos: Viewed More on TV than Online

Summary of Findings Short videos produced for the internet are becoming an important component of campaign news. In some cases, candidates themselves are producing videos and releasing them on their campaign websites. Candidates also are seeing their own gaffes or embarrassing moments packaged in a brief video and put up on the web for all […]

PublicationsJuly 5, 2007

British Car Bombs Top News Interest

Summary of Findings Dramatic events in London and Scotland last week attracted a large news audience. Roughly a third of the public paid very close attention to news that British police had found and defused two car bombs in London, and another 31% followed the story fairly closely. Fully 21% said this was the single […]

PublicationsJune 28, 2007

Iraq Dominates News Landscape in First Six Months of 2007

Summary of Findings In the first six months of 2007, the Iraq war has captivated the public’s interest and eclipsed most of the year’s other major news stories, including the 2008 presidential election, two major Washington political scandals, and news from other international trouble spots. Iraq has been the most closely followed news story in […]

PublicationsJune 20, 2007

Why Change the Channel?

Summary of Findings In spite of their general criticisms of the media, Americans have good things to say about the major broadcast and cable news networks. The public draws few distinctions among the news divisions of the big three broadcast networks. There is much less consensus about the major cable news networks. Nearly half of […]

PublicationsJune 14, 2007

Paris Hilton Becomes a National News Story

Summary of Findings Paris Hilton’s legal problems became a national news story last week. Coverage of Hilton being released from and then returned to jail filled 4% of the newshole, making it the fifth most heavily covered story of the week. Roughly a third of Americans (34%) said they followed news about Hilton very or […]

PublicationsJune 7, 2007

Tuberculosis Story: Lots of Coverage, Lots of Interest

Summary of Findings News about an Atlanta man infected with a dangerous form of tuberculosis drew a large audience last week. The saga of the man’s illness and his travels abroad was the second most closely followed news story of the week – trailing only the situation in Iraq. Nearly a quarter of the public […]

PublicationsJune 1, 2007

Political Divide in Views of Campaign Coverage

Summary of Findings At this early stage of the 2008 campaign, about half of the public believes that press coverage of the Democratic and Republican presidential candidates has been fair. But there are sizable partisan differences in evaluations of campaign coverage. Notably, a plurality of Republicans believes the press has gone too easy on Democratic […]

PublicationsMay 30, 2007

Gas Prices Top News Interest

Summary of Findings The rising price of gasoline replaced the Iraq war last week as the public’s most closely followed news story. More than half of the public (52%) paid very close attention to news about gas prices, and 27% said this was the single news story they followed more closely than any other. By […]

PublicationsMay 24, 2007

Iraq Dominates News Interest

Summary of Findings While the national media divided its time last week among a host of major news stories, the public remained intensely focused on the situation in Iraq. Fully 36% of Americans paid very closely attention to events in Iraq and 35% said this was the news story they followed more closely than any […]

PublicationsMay 23, 2007

Growing Up With the News

Summary of Findings In an era where the news is often dominated by war, tragedy and scandal, America’s parents are more likely to encourage their children to follow the news than they are to shield them from it. Among parents with school-aged children (kindergarten through 12th grade), six-in-ten (61%) say they often or sometimes encourage […]

PublicationsMay 17, 2007

Iraq and Tornadoes Top the News

Summary of Findings In the news last week, the Iraq war continued to dominate both coverage and interest. Fully 30% of the public followed news about the current situation in Iraq very closely and 24% listed this as the single news story they followed more closely than any other. Fully one-quarter of the public paid […]

PublicationsMay 9, 2007

Modest Coverage, Broad Interest in Pet Food Recall

Summary of Findings A story which received relatively little media coverage last week attracted a great deal of public interest. The recall of more than 100 brands of pet food due to possible contamination was the second most closely followed news story last week. Only the war in Iraq attracted more public interest. Nearly three-in-ten […]

PublicationsMay 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 […]

PublicationsMay 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 […]

PublicationsApril 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, […]

PublicationsApril 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 […]

PublicationsApril 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 […]