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Survey Says: News Consumers as Interested in Animals' Death as Gadhafi's

While the national news networks focused their coverage on the death of Muammar Gadhafi and the 2012 presidential elections last week, news consumers were just as interested in the euthanizing of wild animals running amok in Ohio.

That is according to the findings of the Pew Research Center's News Interest Index in combination with its Project for Excellence in Journalism News Coverage Index.

According to latter, the top stories in terms of coverage were Gadhafi and elections at 17% of the news hole apiece, while the story of an exotic animal collector letting loose his menagerie before committing suicide got only 4% of the coverage. According to the news interest index, news consumers gave equal attention to the three stories, with 13% naming the animal escape as the story they followed most closely, the same percentages as followed the other two most closely.

In fact, no single story stood out in terms of news interest, with the top five stories all within a couple of percentage points. The top story was the economy, with 15% saying that was the one they followed most closely. The withdrawal from Iraq came in at number five with 12% saying they followed it most closely, although the national news outlets only gave that story 5% of the news hole.

The study had already gone on too long, with more than a year left to go.

The news interest index was a poll of 1,009 adults conducted Oct. 20-23. The News Coverage Index was a content analysis of 52 media outlets across five sectors, looking at stories from Oct. 17 to 23.