HOME
          
LATEST STORY
Ken Doctor: Why The New York Times hired Kinsey Wilson
ABOUT                    SUBSCRIBE
Feb. 17, 2009, 11:40 a.m.

Top 15 newspaper sites of 2008

The data is in, and we’re ready to declare the top 15 newspaper websites of 2008! It was a hard-fought battle in a year that saw visitors to all newspaper sites rise by 12.1 percent from the year prior. We’ve ranked the top 15 by average monthly unique visitors, according to Nielsen Online, which is the source of all our data (via Editor & Publisher‘s monthly reports). Analysis, charts, and fancy interactive graphics will follow later today and tomorrow, but first, let’s see the list:

1. The New York Times
19,503,667 average monthly uniques
Increase of 33% from 2007
Peak month: 21,340,000 uniques in March [Eliot Spitzer]


2. USA Today
10,845,000 average monthly uniques
Increase of 12% from 2007
Peak month: 12,314,000 uniques in January


3. The Washington Post
10,260,167 average monthly uniques
Increase of 19% from 2007
Peak month: 12,956,000 uniques in September


4. The Los Angeles Times
7,886,250 average monthly uniques
Increase of 54% from 2007
Peak month: 11,136,000 uniques in November


5. The Wall Street Journal
7,169,333 average monthly uniques
Increase of 60% from 2007
Peak month: 9,047,000 uniques in September [Lehman Bros.]


6. The Boston Globe
5,211,083 average monthly uniques
Increase of 22% from 2007
Peak month: 8,610,000 uniques in September [Red Sox]


7. New York Post
4,335,583 average monthly uniques
Increase of 30% from 2007
Peak month: 5,000,000 uniques in October


8. Chicago Tribune
4,271,833 average monthly uniques
Increase of 34% from 2007
Peak month: 5,235,000 uniques in December [Blagojevich]


9. New York Daily News
4,226,083 average monthly uniques
Increase of 68% from 2007
Peak month: 5,888,000 uniques in November


10. San Francisco Chronicle
4,158,000 average monthly uniques
Increase of 10% from 2007
Peak month: 5,129,000 uniques in September


11. Newsday
3,163,000 average monthly uniques
Increase of 7% from 2007
Peak month: 3,911,000 uniques in February


12. Politico
3,113,000 average monthly uniques
Increase of 132% from 2007
Peak month: 4,565,000 uniques in October


13. Chicago Sun-Times
2,884,417 average monthly uniques
Increase of 26% from 2007
Peak month: 3,982,000 uniques in October


14. The Houston Chronicle
2,808,750 average monthly uniques
Decrease of 10% from 2007
Peak month: 3,414,000 uniques in May


15. The Dallas Morning News
2,647,500 average monthly uniques
Increase of 52% from 2007
Peak month: 3,777,000 uniques in September


A few quick notes: We’re only looking at the websites of news organizations that also print a newspaper here, because they face a special challenge in transitioning from print to the web. And while it seems clear that increasing traffic alone won’t solve the business problems of newspapers, it’s all they’ve got right now. (For comparison, here’s a top-30 ranking of all news sites in December.) Politico makes our list because it distributes a small-circulation print edition when Congress is in session. Also keep in mind that Nielsen’s web stats, like its television ratings, are frequently disputed estimates that may be more valid in relative terms such as comparing a site’s traffic to its competitors. Fortunately, that’s what we’re doing here. And finally, we’re looking at monthly unique visitors, which advertisers prefer, while ignoring time spent per visitor because that data is all over the place and difficult to compare.

In another post, we take a closer look at patterns among the five national newspapers that top the list. Tomorrow, we’ll do the same for the regional newspaper sites.

[Hello, readers from Romenesko and elsewhere, and welcome to the Nieman Journalism Lab. We’re trying to figure out the future of journalism online — what business models will support it, how journalists’ jobs will be changing, and how good work can be best be done in our changing environment. Check out the rest of the site; you might want to follow us on Twitter or subscribe to our RSS feed.]

POSTED     Feb. 17, 2009, 11:40 a.m.
SHARE THIS STORY
   
Show comments  
Show tags
 
Join the 15,000 who get the freshest future-of-journalism news in our daily email.
Ken Doctor: Why The New York Times hired Kinsey Wilson
The former chief content officer at NPR will be moving up I-95 to one of the most important digital positions at the Times.
Why Google is taking another shot at helping readers pay for news
Google Contributor is the latest tool the company has designed to help readers pay for what they read online. But its previous experiments in supporting paid content have had limited success.
In Canada, newspapers’ attempts to experiment with ebooks haven’t seen much success
A number of papers across the country started ebook programs in the early part of this decade, repurposing their archives or producing new work. They haven’t been the moneymakers some had hoped.
What to read next
718
tweets
Ken Doctor: The New York Times’ financials show the transition to digital accelerating
The numbers may look flat, but they contain a continuing set of ups and downs. Up next: executing on a year’s worth of launches.
540Here’s some remarkable new data on the power of chat apps like WhatsApp for sharing news stories
At least in certain contexts, WhatsApp is a truly major traffic driver — bigger even than Facebook. Should there be a WhatsApp button on your news site?
502Controlled chaos: As journalism and documentary film converge in digital, what lessons can they share?
Old and new media types from journalism, documentary, and technology backgrounds gathered at MIT to share practices and discuss mutual concerns.
These stories are our most popular on Twitter over the past 30 days.
See all our most recent pieces ➚
Encyclo is our encyclopedia of the future of news, chronicling the key players in journalism’s evolution.
Here are a few of the entries you’ll find in Encyclo.   Get the full Encyclo ➚
Time
Conde Nast
Google
GlobalPost
San Francisco Chronicle
News Corp
Gawker Media
Sports Illustrated
National Journal
National Review
Dallas Morning News
Daily Kos