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NEW YORK (Hollywood Reporter) - For the second consecutive year, the rise in gas prices was the most interesting news story in the United States, according to a poll released Wednesday.
More than half of Americans (52%) said in May that they tracked rising prices at the pump very closely, according to the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press, which conducted a weekly survey of 1,000 people.
The massacre at Virginia Tech was the second highest-interest news story of the year, drawing a 45% rating in April. Other top stories included late July's deadly bridge collapse in Minneapolis (41%), and October's wildfires in California (40%).
In early January, the situation in Iraq and President Bush's troops surge proposal each scored 40%. But Pew said that by December, just 28% on average paid very close attention to news about Iraq.
The Virginia Tech shootings gathered the most coverage in a single week of any story for the year, with Pew counting that 51% of the media's time and attention for the week of April 15 went to the shootings. The only stories that came close to that in a single week were the California wildfires and the Iraq policy debate in September, which each garnered about 37% of the week's coverage.
The higher cost of gasoline, while tops among news consumers in terms of interest, didn't receive that much coverage in any given week. In early May, gasoline prices competed for the media's attention with Iraq policy and the war itself as well as immigration.