Report

News Interest Index: Public Tracks Oil Spill, Media Focuses More On Times Square

  • May 12, 2010

Americans tracked the worsening oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico more closely than other major news stories last week, while the media focused on both the underwater oil leak and the investigation into the attempted car bombing in New York's Times Square.

A third of the public (33%) says they most closely followed news about the oil leak now threatening the coasts of several southeastern states. Fewer say they followed news about the Times Square investigation (13%) or the new Arizona immigration law (16%) more closely than any other story, according to the latest News Interest Index survey, conducted May 7-10 among 1,006 adults by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press.

In terms of coverage, the media devoted 25% of the newshole to the Times Square investigation and 20% to the Gulf Coast oil leak, according to a separate analysis by the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism (PEJ).

When it comes to the economy, the public sees little change in the tenor of recent news. Two-thirds (66%) say they are hearing a mix of good and bad news about the economy, matching the numbers from early April and early March. 
 
Americans give generally high marks to the press for its handling of the ongoing oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico (66% rate coverage as excellent or good) and the investigation into the Times Square bomb attempt (63% excellent or good). Opinions are more measured about press performance covering the new Arizona law that gives police more authority to question people they suspect might be illegal immigrants (48% excellent or good).

Read the full report Public Tracks Oil Spill, Media Focuses More On Times Square on the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press' Web site.