LOS ANGELES (Reuters Life!) - The rise of China as an economic superpower was the most read news story of the past decade, surpassing the Iraq War and the attacks of September 11, according to an analysis by a U.S.-based media tracking group.
The Global Language Monitor, which uses an algorithm to search printed and electronic media and the Internet for trends in word usage, said there was strong interest in the Asian powerhouse, which is the world's third biggest economy.
"The rise of China to new economic heights has changed - and continues to challenge - the current international order," said Paul JJ Payack, president of the Global Language Monitor.
"It is with little surprise that its ongoing transformation has topped all other news stories in a decade bespotted by war, economic catastrophe, and natural disasters."
He said the list was compiled based on the number of citations over the course of the decade on the Internet, the blogosphere, including social media, as well as the top 50,000 print and electronic media sites.
The China story topped news about the 2003 Iraq War, the September 11, 2001 attacks, the ensuing war on terror, and the sudden death this year of Michael Jackson at the age of 50.
Completing the top 10 list were the election of Barack Obama to the U.S. presidency last year, the global recession of 2008/9, Hurricane Katrina which devastated New Orleans in 2005, the war in Afghanistan, and the onset of the economic meltdown.
Here is The Global Language Monitor's list of the top 15 stories of the decade:
1. Rise of China - The biggest story of the decade, outdistancing the No. 2 Internet story by 400 percent.
2. Iraq War - The buildup, invasion, hunt for weapons of mass destruction, and the increase of U.S. troops in Iraq were top in print and electronic media outlets.
3. September 11 attacks - The attacks on New York City and Washington DC seemed to set the tone for the new decade.
4. War on Terror - President George W. Bush's response to the September 11 attacks.
5. Death of Michael Jackson - A remarkably high ranking considering his death occurred in the final year of the decade.
6. Election of Obama as president - The rallying cries of "hope" and "Yes, we can!" resulting in the historic election of an African-American to the U.S. presidency.
7. Global Recession of 2008/9 - The on-going world economic restructuring as opposed to the initial "economic meltdown" or "financial tsunami."
8. Hurricane Katrina - New Orleans was devastated when the levies collapsed with scenes of death and destruction shocking millions the world over.
9. War in Afghanistan - Now in its eighth year.
10. Economic Meltdown/Financial Tsunami.
11. Beijing Olympics.
12. South Asian Tsunami which left 230,000 dead or missing.
13. War against the Taliban.
14. Death of Pope John Paul II attended by 2 million.
15. Osama bin Laden eludes capture.
Writing by Belinda Goldsmith, editing by Miral Fahmy