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Last year's whirlwind news cycle saw another series of White House exits, a "Blue Wave," hurricanes, SpaceX rocket launches and the rescue of a Thai soccer team trapped in a cave, as seen in a new collaboration by Google Trends and Schema in partnership with Axios.

Expand chart
Data: Google News Lab; Chart: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

Between the lines: The news cycles for some of the biggest moments of 2018 only lasted for a median of 7 days — from the very beginning of higher-than-normal interest until the Google searches fizzled out.

  • Looking at the shapes of the news cycles in the chart, it's clear which events managed to keep a consistent level of American attention — such as the migrant caravans, which Trump spent months talking about before the elections.
  • Other news topics like the shooting at the Capital Gazette or Stormy Daniels, for example, saw a fast spike in interest that almost immediately dissipated.
  • Hurricane Michael and Hurricane Florence tied for the events with the most overall search traffic.
  • The midterm elections, however, had the longest lasting surge in search interest — 43 days.

The local news cycle: Big metro areas drove search traffic for most of the news events.

  • But sports-related news tends to peak around the teams' home cities, according to Google Trends and Schema, and areas most impacted by natural disasters also account for the most search interest in those phenomena.

Go deeper

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

  1. Health: Most vulnerable Americans aren't getting enough vaccine information — Fauci says Trump administration's lack of facts on COVID "very likely" cost lives.
  2. Politics: Biden unveils "wartime" COVID strategyBiden's COVID-19 bubble.
  3. Vaccine: Florida requiring proof of residency to get vaccine — CDC extends interval between vaccine doses for exceptional cases.
  4. World: Hong Kong to put tens of thousands on lockdown as cases surge.
  5. Sports: 2021 Tokyo Olympics hang in the balance.
  6. 🎧 Podcast: Carbon Health's CEO on unsticking the vaccine bottleneck.

Trump impeachment trial to start week of Feb. 8, Schumer says

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. Photo: The Washington Post via Getty

The Senate will begin former President Trump's impeachment trial the week of Feb. 8, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced Friday on the Senate floor.

The state of play: Schumer announced the schedule after reaching an agreement with Republicans. The House will transmit the article of impeachment against the former president late Monday.

4 hours ago - Health

CDC extends interval between COVID vaccine doses for exceptional cases

Photo: Joseph Prezioso/AFP via Getty

Patients can space out the two doses of the coronavirus vaccine by up to six weeks if it’s "not feasible" to follow the shorter recommended window, according to updated guidance from the Centers for Disease and Control and Prevention.

Driving the news: With the prospect of vaccine shortages and a low likelihood that supply will expand before April, the latest changes could provide a path to vaccinate more Americans — a top priority for President Biden.