Turns out the news media were a lot more interested in mounting massive coverage of the death of Osama Bin Laden than their viewers and listeners were in following the story.
That is the surprising finding of the Project for Excellence in Journalism's News Coverage and News Interest indices.
While a whopping 69% of the news holes of major media outlets were devoted to the story (Bin Laden was killed in a U.S. raid May 1), only 42% of viewers surveyed May 5-8 said they followed that story more closely than any other story. According to the interest survey, 43% of respondents felt there had been too much coverage of Bin Laden's death. Interestingly, almost one in 10 (9%) felt there had been too little.
That 69% made it the largest percentage of coverage since PEJ began its coverage survey in 2007, but it was not the top story in news interest so far for 2011, topped by the 57% who followed the Japan disasters most closely.
The PEJ's News Coverage index looks at major national news outlets in broadcast, cable, radio, print and online. The News Interest index was a survey of 1,003 adults.