New Media Index: WikiLeaks Finishes Second to Leslie Nielsen’s Death on Blogs, New Life Form on Twitter

The WikiLeaks controversy only managed second-place finishes on the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism’s New Media Index rankings of most shared news stories via blogs and Twitter for the week of Nov. 29-Dec. 3, trailing the death of actor Leslie Nielsen in the blogosphere and NASA’s discovery of a completely new life form in the Twitterverse. Meanwhile, the most-watched news and politics video on YouTube was footage of an angry, handcuffed man yelling in Portuguese.

Nielsen’s passing accounted for 17 percent of bloggers’ shared news links, and WikiLeaks tallied 16 percent, followed by: a column in The Washington Post by George Will arguing against restricting children’s access to video games, at 12 percent; a Washington Post story about how federal stimulus money went to more sources than many people realized, at 11 percent; and another Washington Post op-ed by a George Washington University Law professor on why Transportation Safety Administration pat-downs and body scans are unconstitutional, at 9 percent.

The new bacterium, which contains a different DNA than that of any life form yet discovered on Earth, represented 29 percent of Tweeted news links, and WikiLeaks accounted for 24 percent, followed by three offerings from Mashable, each at 6 percent: a BBC subscription-based iPad app for U.S. consumers, a Verizon Communications press conference on 4G service, and expansion plans for Groupon.

The angry, handcuffed man ranting in Portuguese was followed on the list of most-viewed news and politics videos on YouTube by: the TSA strip-searching a young boy while his father looked on; the Nov. 22 installment of The Philip DeFranco Show; pundits on Fox News Watch sharing jokes about Sarah Palin’s new TV show during a commercial break (deleted); and a video from comedy group Die Aussenseiter.