News Interest Index: Coverage of Jackson's Death Seen As Excessive

  • July 01, 2009

The public closely tracked the sudden death of pop superstar Michael Jackson last week, though nearly two-in-three Americans say news organizations gave too much coverage to the story. At the same time, half say the media struck the right balance between reporting on Jackson's musical legacy and the problems in his personal life.
With reports about Jackson's June 25th death in Los Angeles dominating media coverage at week's end, 30% say they followed these stories very closely. A similar share (31%) say this was the story they followed more closely than any other, according to the latest weekly News Interest Index survey, conducted June 26-29 by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press.

Blacks followed the death of the African American singer – who had been on the national stage for four decades – more closely than the population as a whole. Eight-in-ten African Americans say they followed news about Jackson's death very closely, compared with 22% of whites. Women followed the story more closely than men (35% very closely compared with 26%). Close to four-in-ten (38%) of those under 40 say they followed the music icon's death very closely, compared with 27% of those between 40 and 64 and 20% of those 65 and older.

Read the full report Coverage of Jackson's Death Seen As Excessive on the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press' Web site.