PEJ New Media Index: Bloggers Focus on Internet as a Fundamental Right

The debate over whether Internet access is a fundamental right accounted for the most news links shared by bloggers, while Apple’s April 3 release of its iPad tablet was the subject of the most news links shared on Twitter, and the most-watched news video on YouTube was CBS News Online’s coverage of a grandmother who works as a DJ at clubs in Paris, according to the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism’s New Media Index for the week of March 8-12.

A survey by the British Broadcasting Corp., which found that some 80 percent of the 27,000 worldwide respondents felt that Internet access is a fundamental right, accounted for 43 percent of news links shared in blogs, making it the most-shared news story in 2010 thus far. It was followed by: large particle accelerator the Large Hadron Collider at 9 percent; the economy — mainly an investigative piece in The Washington Post reporting that the normal six-month time-period for unemployment benefits was extended for up to two years for some people — also at 9 percent; a DNA test performed by British scientists confirming that a group of people in Zimbabwe and South Africa who claimed to be descendants of Jews who fled the Holy Land 2,500 years ago are correct, at 6 percent; and the scandal involving former Rep. Eric Massa (D-N.Y.), also at 6 percent.

On Twitter, the iPad was followed by: the March 9 shooting at Ohio State University, at 11.5 percent; the Kansas City School Board’s decision to close nearly one-half of public schools due to financial trouble, at 9 percent; a group of stories about just-launched Websites and Web technologies at 8 percent; and JetBlue’s Twitter post that it would give away tickets on the microblogging service, also at 8 percent.

Following the grandmother DJ on YouTube’s list of most-shared news videos were: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) on the Senate floor quoted about job losses; an excerpt from an interview of Massa by Glenn Beck; video of a flood in Chile caused by the earthquake; and a German video of an armed robbery at a poker tournament in Berlin.