News Interest Index: Public Follows Both Japan, Shutdown Fight Closely

Apr 12, 2011

The public divided its attention last week between two major stories: the aftermath of the deadly earthquake and tsunami in Japan and the budget battle in Washington that nearly led to a government shutdown.

About a third say they followed news about the aftermath of the disasters in Japan (34%) or the budget brinksmanship (31%) more closely than any other major story, according to the latest News Interest Index survey, conducted April 7-10 among 1,004 adults. No other story comes close this week.

For its part, the media devoted the most coverage to the budget drama that played out in Washington and the last-minute compromise that averted a shutdown last weekend. This story accounted for 29% of coverage – roughly four times the amount of coverage devoted to the Japan disaster (7%) and far more coverage than for any other story, according to a separate analysis by the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism (PEJ).

Read the full report, Public Follows Both Japan, Shutdown Fight Closely, on the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press Web site. 

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