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Nov. 3, 2008, 12:20 p.m.

TPM and FiveThirtyEight: Huge audience, just a handful of salaries

Two top sites for political junkies, FiveThirtyEight and Talking Points Memo, have announced their October stats, and they’re astounding. To put them in context, I’m inserting them into E&P’s list of top newspaper sites’ unique-visitor totals for September. (October numbers for the newspapers won’t be out for a couple weeks.)

New York Times: 20.07 million unique visitors
Washington Post: 12.96 million
USA Today: 11.44 million
LA Times: 10.02 million
Wall Street Journal: 9.05 million
Boston Globe: 8.61 million
San Francisco Chronicle: 5.13 million
New York Post: 4.82 million
Politico: 4.61 million
Chicago Tribune: 4.56 million
New York Daily News: 4.44 million
Dallas Morning News: 3.78 million
Chicago Sun-Times: 3.68 million
FiveThirtyEight: 3.63 million
Houston Chronicle: 3.40 million
Talking Points Memo: 3.12 million
Newsday: 3.05 million
International Herald Tribune: 2.94 million
Washington Times: 2.41 million
Philadelphia Inquirer/Daily News: 2.33 million
Seattle Times: 2.26 million

(You could also throw in Andrew Sullivan, who reports 23 million pageviews and 14 million visits to his blog in October. He doesn’t report unique visitors, which would be the directly comparable number for this list, but those numbers would probably put him a hair behind TPM.)

Now, these comparisons aren’t entirely fair, for a number of reasons. The newspaper numbers are from September, and I’m sure their October numbers will be up some with the election approaching. Web audience stats are notoriously easy to manipulate. One assumes that politics-themed sites will drop off a bit after November 4.

But TPM has a dozen employees. FiveThirtyEight is three guys. A baseball-stats nerd, a poker player, and a photographer. And they’re pulling roughly the same number of readers as entire The Houston Chronicle. Andrew Sullivan is one guy with an assistant and some interns, and he’s in the same ballpark as The Seattle Times.

POSTED     Nov. 3, 2008, 12:20 p.m.
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