News Interest Index: Modest Decline in Oil Leak Interest, Sharp Decline in Coverage

Jul 14, 2010

As the public continues to closely track news about the environmental disaster unfolding in the Gulf of Mexico, few Americans say news organization are giving the oil leak too much coverage.

The Gulf oil leak once again topped both public interest and media coverage last week, though the percent following the story very closely dropped to 43% from 57% the week of July 1-5. Still, 45% say they followed this news more closely than any other major story. Just 13% say they followed the next ranking story – the U.S. government’s legal challenge to Arizona’s new immigration law – most closely, according to the latest weekly News Interest Index conducted July 8-11 among 1,001 adults by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press.

News about the oil spill accounted for 15% of coverage, more than double the next top story but far below the 44% devoted to the leak the week of June 14, according to a separate analysis by the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism (PEJ). The percentage of coverage devoted to the spill declined in subsequent weeks as the media also focused on other major stories – such as the economy and the war in Afghanistan.  

Read the full report, Modest Decline in Oil Leak Interest, Sharp Decline in Coverage on the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press' Web site.

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