Coverage of bin Laden Story Outpaced Interest

According to an article published by the Pew Research Center, the "near-record amount of news coverage" concerning bin Laden's death far outpaced interest in the story. The Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism (PEJ) found that 69% of news coverage from May 2-8 concerned the raid in Abbottabad, Pakistan, even reaching 90% of all news on cable television. But a May 5-8 poll conducted by Pew showed that only 42% of people polled said they followed bin Laden's death more closely than any other news story that week.

In fact, 20% of those polled said they followed news about severe weather and flooding in the South and Midwest most closely during the same week. And the 42% who said they followed bin Laden's death most closely did not come near the 57% who said in mid-March that they followed the Japan earthquake and nuclear disaster most closely.
Many people recognized the discrepancy between interest and news coverage, as 43% of those polled said the bin Laden story received too much rather than too little coverage, as opposed to only 9% who said the opposite. An additional 42% said the amount of coverage was just right.

Concerning the actual bin Laden coverage, 57% said that its most interesting aspect was the chance of a retaliatory terrorist attack on the United States. 74% of the public received its news from a television, and this tendency was especially pronounced for people over 65 years of age, 87% of whom said they received their news from a television.

NH cf
SSDAN Office

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