For the third straight week, the controversy over the shooting death of Trayvon Martin was the public’s top story, though coverage dropped considerably. A third of the public (33%) say they followed news about the death of the African American teenager in Florida more closely than any other news, about twice the percentage citing the economy (16%) or the 2012 elections (15%). News about the controversy made up 7% of coverage, down from 18% one week earlier, according to a separate analysis by the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism (PEJ).
African Americans continue to follow news about the controversy more closely than whites. About seven-in-ten blacks (72%) say they followed Trayvon Martin developments more closely than any other story, compared with 26% of whites. Looking at partisans, 45% of Democrats say this was their top story last week, three times the 15% of Republicans that say this. Among independents more than a third (36%) say this was their top story.