News Interest Index: Inauguruation Outdraws Interest in Economy

  • January 28, 2009

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 the same of the economy, according to the latest Pew Research Center weekly News Interest Index survey.

The inauguration's many story lines – from complex logistics to analysis of Obama's speech – easily made that event the most reported story of the week. According to the weekly content analysis by the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism, the media devoted 24% of the national newshole to the inauguration. The troubled economy was the second most covered story at 15% of the newshole as several big stories kept people focused on the nation's financial woes despite the inaugural celebrations.

With a spate of bad economic news and a new president taking office amid huge crowds in Washington, majorities say they followed each story “very closely” (57% for economic news and 52% for the inauguration), according to the News Interest Index survey conducted Jan. 23-26.

Read the full report Inauguruation Outdraws Interest in Economy on the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press' Web site.