News Interest Index: Arizona Rampage Dominates Public's News Interest

Jan 18, 2011

The aftermath of the deadly shooting rampage in Tucson, Ariz., dominated the public's news interest last week as President Obama's speech at a memorial service won praise -- across party lines -- among those who had read or heard about the event.

About half of the public (49%) says they very closely followed news about the Jan. 8 shootings that left six dead and 13 wounded, including the gunman's apparent target, Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. That is similar to the 45% that very closely followed news about the mass killings at Virginia Tech in April 2007 but less than the 68% who said they tracked news about the April 1999 shootings at a Columbine High School in Colorado that closely.

According to the latest News Interest Index survey, conducted Jan. 13-16 among 1,000 adults, Americans also followed news about the economy (37% very closely) and powerful winter storms that hit the east coast (35% very closely). But when the public is asked which story they followed most closely last week, both rank far behind the Tucson shootings.

Read the full report, Arizona Rampage Dominates Public's News Interest, on the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press Web site.

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