The Numbers Crunch: Sarkozy-Obama waves on the Web

Talk of possible Iran strike dies down on mainstream media, but alive and kicking on forums.

By ELANA KIRSH
November 18, 2011 09:31
4 minute read.
The Numbers Crunch

Numbers Crunch 311. (photo credit: Mrkay Design)

Jerusalem Post readers are seldom as united in opinion as they were this week, in responses to a poll on the Iranian nuclear threat. Almost 70 percent of some 3,000 respondents were convinced that the recently-released International Atomic Energy Agency report won’t change anything in terms of Iran’s nuclear program, and that Israel faces the threat alone. The poll was taken the week after Israeli and international media and social media alike were abuzz with talk of a possible strike on Iranian nuclear facilities.



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On JPost.com, however, only the main news story on the report remained in the most-read articles list, and discussion around the document appeared to die down. Instead, the top story looked at the diplomatic repercussions of an embarrassing conversation between US President Barack Obama and French President Nicolas Sarkozy which was overheard by a small number of reporters at a G20 summit earlier this month. The second most-read article was a column by JPost columnist Caroline Glick which analysed the gaffe, in which the two leaders were heard putting down Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.

JPost Top Five most-read stories:

1. Sarkozy gaffe rekindles talk of US-J'lem tensions

2. Column One: With friends like these

3. IAEA: Iran designing parts for nuclear weapons

4. French consul injured after IAF strike on Gaza

5. IDF probes tragic shooting that killed West Bank Rabbi

Not surprisingly, JPost talkbackers also had something to say about the Obama-Sarkozy story, its repercussions, and Glick’s column. Also, though stories on the Iranian nuclear threat died down in mainstream media, on the forums the issue was still alive and kicking, with the next three stories on the list focusing on the issue.

JPost Top Five most-active threads:

1. Sarkozy: 'I cannot bear Netanyahu anymore, he is a liar'

2. Column One: With friends like these

3. IAEA: Iran designing parts for nuclear weapons

4. Panetta: 'Strike on Iran could have unintended consequences'

5. PM: Iranian nukes endanger Mideast, world peace

US news coverage, meanwhile, was dominated by domestic issues, according to the Pew Research Center. Unrest in the Middle East and various worldwide crises had taken significant proportions of the news hole in recent weeks, but this month, US networks and viewers alike were more interested in economic and political issues. Republican presidential hopeful Herman Cain was the top newsmaker for the week, registering as the dominant figure in 112 news stories, compared to Obama’s 35.

On social media, too, US stories focused on US issues though not exclusively serious ones, according to the PRC’s New Media Index. Kim Kardashian’s divorce was the most-mentioned on US blogs, followed by the 2012 US presidential election. As usual, tech stories were also popular – with the 3, 4 and 5 spots going to Google changes, the iPhone and the Apple brand.

On Twitter, too, news stories didn’t figure, with Justin Bieber’s new Christmas album and Lady Gaga’s Born This Way website instead taking the top two spots.

On local social media, the most active Twitter areas in Israel were Jerusalem, Hebron, Tel Aviv and Haifa, in that order, according to real-time mapping site Trendsmap. In both Jerusalem and Hebron, diplomatic and political issues seemed to be getting the most tweet-time – the top hashtags were #israel, #palestine, #palestinians and #syria.

On YouTube’s Newsroom, the fifth consecutive post was dedicated to “Occupy” protests across the US. This week’s post looked at New York’s Zuccotti Park, which was raided by police earlier in the week. The blog noted that “Zuccotti Park” was a rising search term, and posted a collection of videos from the clearing of the original “Occupy” encampment.



For this week’s random facts, we look at news tablet usage. According to data from a recent PRC study, in the US:
- 11% of the population now owns a tablet
- 53% of tablet owners get news on the device every day
- 42% regularly read in-depth news articles on their tablets
- 14% of tablet owners have paid for news on the device

From news sites to blogs, tweets to videos, The Numbers Crunch is a weekly column which zooms out and brings you the big picture online, from Israel, the Middle East and around the world, and poll results from JPost.com.

The writer is the Internet desk manager at The Jerusalem Post.


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