News Interest Index: Public Stays Focused on Japan as Media Turns to Libya

Mar 30, 2011

The public’s news interests this week are far out of sync with the news media’s coverage: While the aftermath of the Japan earthquake and tsunami was the public’s top story by a wide margin, news organizations devoted far more coverage to the military conflict in Libya.

Nearly six-in-ten Americans (57%) say they followed news about the aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan more closely than any other news last week. Just 15% say they followed news about the U.S. and allies’ airstrikes on Libya most closely, according to the latest News Interest Index survey conducted March 24-27 among 1,002 adults.

The public’s news interests are largely unchanged from a week earlier. But news organizations suddenly shifted their focus from Japan to the ongoing military action in Libya. News about Libya accounted for 41% of news coverage this week, compared with just 15% devoted to the Japan crisis, according to the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism (PEJ). Just a week earlier, news from Japan accounted for more than half (57%) of all news coverage.

Read the full report, Public Stays Focused on Japan as Media Turns to Libya, on the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press Web site. 

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