Sarah Palin may not always have kind words for the media, but the press certainly loves her. The former governor of Alaska has been the fifth most covered news figure so far in 2009 according to the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism. Palin has been a lead newsmaker in 362 stories this year, trailing only President Barack Obama (6,775), the late pop legend Michael Jackson (721), the first Hispanic Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor (552) and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (476). (To be designated a lead newsmaker a figure must appear in at least 50% of a story studied by PEJ.) While Palin has never truly left the media spotlight since being named John McCain’s running mate in August 2008, three major events have fueled a surge in Palin coverage this year: her current book tour, her resignation as governor in July, and a joke by David Letterman about her daughters in June. Read More

Russell Heimlich  is a former web developer at Pew Research Center.