News Interest Index: Iraq Tops News Interest; Racial Gap on Jena Six Story

News Interest Index: Iraq Tops News Interest; Racial Gap on Jena Six Story

O.J. Simpson's recent arrest on robbery and assault charges was the most heavily covered news story last week. Yet public interest in the Simpson case was fairly modest. Overall, just 13% of Americans say they followed reports about Simpson's arrest very closely, while 17% listed it as the single story they followed most closely. By contrast, there was much greater public interest in the situation in Iraq: 32% say they paid very close attention to the war, and 25% followed it more closely than any other story last week.

Simpson's latest legal troubles drew somewhat more interest from blacks than whites. About a quarter of blacks (24%) cited Simpson's arrest as the week's top story, compared with 15% of whites. There was broad agreement among both blacks and whites, however, that Simpson's case received too much press coverage though the coverage was fair.

A much larger racial gap emerged on another high profile news story: the demonstrations in Jena, Louisiana in support of six black teenagers involved in a schoolyard fight. The so-called Jena Six story was by far the biggest story of the week among African Americans. Fully half of blacks say they followed this story very closely, while 40% listed it as the story they followed most closely last week. By contrast, just 11% of whites followed the story very closely and 9% listed it as their top story. The national news media devoted 5% of its coverage to this story, which is less than half of the amount of coverage that news organizations devoted to the Simpson arrest (13%).

Read the full report on Pew Research Center for the People and the Press Web site.

Spotlight on Mental Health

Composite image of modern city network communication concept

Learn the Basics of Broadband from Our Limited Series

Sign up for our four-week email course on Broadband Basics

Quick View

How does broadband internet reach our homes, phones, and tablets? What kind of infrastructure connects us all together? What are the major barriers to broadband access for American communities?

Pills illustration
Pills illustration

What Is Antibiotic Resistance—and How Can We Fight It?

Sign up for our four-week email series The Race Against Resistance.

Quick View

Antibiotic-resistant bacteria, also known as “superbugs,” are a major threat to modern medicine. But how does resistance work, and what can we do to slow the spread? Read personal stories, expert accounts, and more for the answers to those questions in our four-week email series: Slowing Superbugs.

Explore Pew’s new and improved
Fiscal 50 interactive

Your state's stats are more accessible than ever with our new and improved Fiscal 50 interactive:

  • Maps, trends, and customizable charts
  • 50-state rankings
  • Analysis of what it all means
  • Shareable graphics and downloadable data
  • Proven fiscal policy strategies

Explore

Welcome to the new Fiscal 50

Key changes include:

  • State pages that help you keep track of trends in your home state and provide national and regional context.
  • Interactive indicator pages with highly customizable and shareable data visualizations.
  • A Budget Threads feature that offers Pew’s read on the latest state fiscal news.

Learn more about the new and improved Fiscal 50.