Commentary

Publishers Should Focus On Key Pandemic Topics As Readers Lose Interest

Americans are still losing interestin news about the coronavirus pandemic, even as the handling of the health crisis becomes a focal point in this year's presidential election, according to a study by Pew Research Center. Still, public interest in the health crisis remains elevated, which suggests news publishers should focus their pandemic coverage on key topics, such as the latest safety guidelines.

The percentage of U.S. adults who said they "very closely" followed news about the pandemic fell from a high of 57% in late March to 35% by early September, Pew found. That decline is understandable as the pandemic becomes part of the everyday routine, and reader attention shifts elsewhere.

However, Pew conducted its most recent survey before President Trump revealed in an overnight tweet on Oct. 2 that he and First Lady Melania Trump had contracted the virus. That bombshell announcement led to a jump in interest about the topic, according to separate survey data cited by CNN.

advertisement

advertisement

Even as fewer Americans say they are following the pandemic very closely, the number of people keeping tabs on the news has climbed. The portion of people who said they are following coronavirus news "fairly closely" grew from 35% in March to 46% in September, according to Pew.

Its research also found a growing partisan divide with Republicans being even more likely than Democrats to indicate they have lost interest in coronavirus news. The percentage of Republicans who said they follow pandemic news "very closely" plunged from a high of 56% in late March to 26% in September.

For Democrats, those percentages slipped from 60% to 44%, a more modest decline.

Still, the data indicate a growing rift between Republicans and Democrats who closely follow news about the pandemic.

Next story loading loading..