News Interest Index: Public Reacts Positively To Extensive Gulf Coverage

  • June 22, 2010

While the oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico has accounted for an overwhelming proportion of recent news coverage, most Americans say the press is giving the right amount of attention to the still-unfolding disaster.

The latest News Interest Index survey conducted June 17-20 among 1,009 adults by the Pew Research Center finds that 53% say the press has devoted the right amount of coverage to the disaster. Among the remainder, as many say news organizations are giving too little coverage to the leak (21%) as say too much coverage (19%). Last month, 59% said the press devoted the right amount of coverage to the leak.

Last week, news about the leak, which included a presidential address about the crisis, accounted for 44% of the newshole, the highest percentage since the story broke on April 20 with a deadly explosion on an offshore oil rig, according to a separate analysis by the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism. That represents the highest amount of coverage for any news story since health care legislation was approved by Congress in March.

Public interest in the disaster remains strong. More than six-in-ten (63%) say they followed news about the oil leak more closely than any other story last week. A majority (56%) says the press has done an excellent or good job in covering the leak, though that is down from 66% in early May.

Read the full report, Public Reacts Positively To Extensive Gulf Coverage on the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press' Web site.