News Interest Index: Swine Flu Interest Outpaces Coverage

Nov 05, 2009

For the second week in a row, Americans followed news about the swine flu and its vaccine more closely than any other news story – with public interest outpacing the amount of national media coverage devoted to the story.

About three-in-ten (29%) name reports about the fast-spreading flu and its vaccine as the story they followed more closely than any other last week, according to the latest weekly News Interest Index survey, conducted October 30-November 2 among 1,001 adults by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press. Somewhat fewer mention news about health care reform (22%) or the economy (17%) as their top story.

A separate analysis by the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism (PEJ) finds that the national news media devoted 5% of the newshole to swine flu, much less than the coverage given to the health care debate (16%), Afghanistan (13%) or the economy (12%).

In addition, the public’s impression of economic news remains mixed at best, with very few saying they have been hearing mostly good news about the economy. About six-in-ten (62%) say they have been hearing a mix of good and bad news about the economy, while half as many (31%) say they have been hearing mostly bad news about the economy. Very few (5%) report hearing mostly good economic news. These views have changed little in recent months.

Read the full report Swine Flu Interest Outpaces Coverage on the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press' Web site.

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