News Interest Index: Winter Olympics Tops Public's News Interests

Feb 24, 2010

Americans say they followed news about the Winter Olympics in Vancouver more closely than any other major news story last week. The Olympics also proved to be one of two stories people talked about most frequently with friends. The other was Tiger Woods’ televised apology for marital infidelities.

About a quarter of the public (24%) says they followed news about the Winter Olympics more closely than any other news story last week. But Americans also kept a close watch on two long-running stories: the troubled U.S. economy (18% most closely) and the debate over health care reform (16% most closely), according to the latest News Interest Index survey, conducted Feb. 19-22 among 1,007 adults by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press.

According to a separate analysis by the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism, no single story dominated coverage last week. Coverage of the economy made up 12% of the newshole. The Olympics and the ongoing war in Afghanistan each accounted for 8%, while the IRS plane crash – and reports about the pilot’s grievances with the tax agency – made up 7% of the newshole. The debate over health care reform received relatively little coverage last week (4%), while reports out of Haiti about the release of some of the American missionaries accused of kidnapping Haitian children accounted for 2%.

Read the full report Winter Olympics Tops Public's News Interests on the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press' Web site.

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