Not All Newspaper Audiences Are Created Equal

Editor and Publisher has released its May 2009 web site audience attention data for the top 30 newspaper sites ranked according to each sites number of unique users.

According to Editor & Publisher there are many factors which can impact the audience of a website:

…the average time spent per person can vary including news events or even the number of visitors. A big spike in uniques — more people attracted to the site — could account for a lower time-spent average.

The Top 30 Newspaper Web sites according to Nielson Online — May ’09 (hour:minute:second) — May ’08

NYTimes.com — 0:27:34 — 0:28:52
USATODAY.com — 0:12:11 — 0:13:00
Washingtonpost.com — 0:10:58 — 0:16:04
LA Times — 0:07:37 — 0:07:13
Wall Street Journal Online — 0:08:54 — 0:08:27

Daily News Online Edition — 0:05:47 — 0:06:16
Chicago Tribune — 0:09:13 — 0:08:20
New York Post — 0:10:57 — 0:08:02
Boston.com — 0:10:06 — 0:09:40
Newsday — 0:03:30 — 0:03:35

SFGate.com/San Francisco Chronicle — 0:21:00 — 0:12:01
Politico — 0:06:22 — 0:10:21
NJ.com — 0:02:28 — 0:08:25
Chicago Sun-Times — 0:05:47 — 0:08:09
Atlanta Journal-Constitution — 0:16:13 — 0:11:11

Baltimore Sun — 0:07:06 — 0:06:51
DallasNews.com – The Dallas Morning News — 0:04:43 — 0:04:51
The Houston Chronicle — 0:24:42 — 0:21:43
Philly.com — 0:04:46 — 0:08:03
KansasCity.com — 0:04:29 — 0:08:20

The Washington Times — 0:05:44 — 0:05:14
Star Tribune — 0:47:25 — 0:27:18
MercuryNews.com — 0:04:51 — 0:05:08
tampabay.com — 0:05:41 — 0:07:59
The Seattle Times — 0:07:17 — 0:07:45

Orlando Sentinel — 0:08:34 — 0:07:38
MiamiHerald.com — 0:02:38 — 0:03:41
Seattle Post-Intelligencer — 0:07:44 — 0:15:24
Detroit Free Press — 0:17:33 — 0:12:48
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette — 0:12:23 — 0:14:31

The Star Tribune in Minneapolis had the highest average amount of time an audience spent on any of the top 30 papers clocking in @ 0:47:25  per visitor.

Terry Sauer, assistant managing editor for digital at the Star Tribune, attributed the increase in time spent on site to two major factors:

Putting home page links at the article level to get people who come to the site from search engines or links to explore the StarTribune.com further.

Utilizing community bloggers who attract comments.

The StarTribune.com site averages about 2,500 comments a day.

If community bloggers are generating higher shares of audience attention and time – why aren’t all newspapers employing community bloggers to deepen penetration within their respective web audience?

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