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YouTube looks back at 2012 with eye on Sandy, Syria

Fixing its gaze on the news, the video site says 7,000 hours of news-related videos were uploaded to YouTube each day of the year.

A look back at Superstorm Sandy.
Screenshot by Don Reisinger/CNET

YouTube has revealed which news stories riveted the video-watching masses during 2012.

As part of its year in review, YouTube noted that Superstorm Sandy was a popular, if sobering, topic on the site this year, with 39,000 hurricane-related videos showing up on the video site in just one week. A video of an exploding substation caused by the storm topped 4 million views in just 24 hours.

Moving to the U.S. presidential election, YouTube revealed that videos tagged "Obama" or "Romney" were viewed 2.7 billion times and that the candidates' debates nabbed 27 million cumulative views.

Some other highlights from YouTube's Year In Review:

  • About 7,000 hours of news-related videos were uploaded to its site each day over the course of the year.
  • Videos related to the Syrian protests were viewed 200 million times.
  • Associated Press videos hit a cumulative 1 billion views.
  • A whopping 8 million people were watching YouTube at the same time when Felix Baumgartner made his record-setting leap from the edge of space.
  • Over 10,000 videos were uploaded and tagged with the term "Pussy Riot" -- a female-only Russian band whose members were sentenced to prison for alleged "hooliganism."
  • Trayvon Martin, the African-American teen who was shot to death while walking unarmed through his father's neighborhood in Florida, was the subject of 19,000 YouTube videos.

YouTube's year in review comes just a week after parent company Google released its Zeitgeist 2012. The death of Whitney Houston was Google's top search term for 2012, followed by music video phenom Gangnam Style and Superstorm Sandy.