New Media Index: Phone Hacking Scandal Still Tops Twitter, But Other Topics Narrow the Gap

The phone-hacking scandal in the United Kingdom remained the subject of the most tweeted news links for the week of July 11-15, but it did not dominate as it did the previous week, accounting for 19 percent of links shared via Twitter, compared with 53 percent during the week of July 4-8, according to the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism’s New Media Index.

The phone-hacking scandal in the United Kingdom remained the subject of the most tweeted news links for the week of July 11-15, but it did not dominate as it did the previous week, accounting for 19 percent of links shared via Twitter, compared with 53 percent during the week of July 4-8, according to the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism’s New Media Index.

Meanwhile, the most viewed news and politics video on YouTube was footage of a tragic accident at a Texas Rangers Major League Baseball game, in which 39-year-old firefighter Shannon Stone lost his life. And the most shared news story by bloggers was a federal government ruling that marijuana has no accepted medical use and should remain classified as a highly dangerous drug.

The investigation of News Corp. and its News International unit, which resulted in the shuttering of weekly tabloid News of the World, was followed on the list of news links shared via the Twitterverse by: items on the demographics of Google+ users, at 16 percent; a Wired item about a man who hacked into his neighbor’s Wi-Fi and tried to frame the family for various offenses, at 9 percent; the possibility that search engines are changing the way people’s memories work, also at 9 percent; and a gem from msnbc.com about an exotic animal owner who choked to death on a sex toy, at 7 percent.

The tragic death of the baseball fan was followed on the list of most-viewed news and politics videos on YouTube by: a BBC Newsnight clip in which British comedian Steven Coogan ripped a former NOTW reporter; photos of police in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, before a rally for free and fair elections; more Malaysian police footage, this time of the arrest of Hee-Tiong Huat for showing support for Bersih (The Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections); and a Spanish-language news report on the murder of Argentine folk singer Facundo Cabral by two unknown gunmen who intercepted his car in Guatemala City.

The anti-marijuana ruling accounted for 22 percent of news links shared via the blogosphere, followed by: a story about a politician in California proposing that 13 mostly conservative counties break away to form a separate state of South California, at 11 percent; a item on California state prison surgeon Dr. Jeffrey Rohlfing, who has an annual salary of $777,423 despite not being allowed to treat inmates because medical supervisors do not trust him, also at 11 percent; the debt ceiling debate in Washington, D.C., at 10 percent; and the results of a special election in California’s 36th Congressional District, where Democrat Janice Hahn defeated Republican Craig Huey, at 8 percent.