YouTube is the favourite news spot for 71 percent of American adults up from 66 percent (in 2010) who visit the site to stay tuned, says a survey conducted by Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project. The study adds that 28 percent of American adults visit YouTube daily.

The focus of this article is a study conducted by The Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism that examined over 15 months worth of most popular 260 news videos. The study identified and tracked five most-viewed videos each week located in the news and politics  channel of YouTube, analyzing the videos, topics viewed often and who produced and posted them.

Data reveals that a complex, symbiotic relationship exists between the citizens and news organizations on YouTube. Citizens are creating their own news videos and posting them while news organizations leverage the content by incorporating such videos in their news coverage.

Study findings also reveal that natural disasters or political upheavals featuring intense visuals are the most popular news videos and despite news events being ephemeral, they easily outpace even the biggest entertainment videos at any given time. This is based on the fact that in 2011, news events remained the most searched term on YouTube in four out of 12 months.

Further, citizens play a crucial role in capturing and producing news footage. More than 39 percent of watched videos originated from citizens. While another 51 percent bore the logo of the news organizations, some footage appeared to have been initially shot by users than journalists.

A report published in the PC magazine noted how President Barack Obama was the top favourite, being the focus of heavily viewed news videos.

Other findings of the Pew Study indicate that most popular news videos are a mix of edited and raw footage; personalities are not the key drivers of top news videos and unlike traditional TV news videos, lengths of most popular YouTube news videos vary widely.

Another set of related data compiled by Netcraft, a British research service, indicates that YouTube is the third most popular online destination after Google and Facebook. The site with over 4 billion video views a day gets 30 percent of traffic from the United States.