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Oct. 27, 2009, 7:50 a.m.

Happy birthday to us: The Nieman Journalism Lab turns 1

Today, October 27, is the one-year anniversary of the Nieman Journalism Lab. We launched with this quick interview with Ana Marie Cox on her last-minute pre-election Twitter fundraising. (Ana’s since reached 1.3 million Twitter followers.)

Our mission is to chronicle how journalism is changing, to figure out where the business and the craft are going, and to track the people and institutions doing the most to innovate. You can be the judge of how we’ve done on that score, but we’ve broken some news, we’ve talked to a lot of smart people, and we’ve tried our best to be as useful as possible to our colleagues in newsrooms and online.

And you guys have responded. In our first year, we had over 1 million pageviews and over 500,000 unique visitors. We’re currently averaging around 150,000 pageviews and 75,000 uniques a month. Google Analytics tells us we’ve been linked to from over 7,000 different domains, including many of the world’s best blogs, newspapers, online startups, broadcasters, and magazines.

In some ways, our biggest success has been on Twitter, for which our Zach Seward must get the biggest credit. We’ve got over 16,000 followers there — not quite Ana Marie Cox territory, but they’re among the smartest and most engaged people online. We now get somewhere around 30 percent of our traffic from Twitter — more than twice what we get from Google. I don’t know how far back the records of BackTweets goes, but it counts over 10,000 tweets linking to our site, including over 100 a day over the past month.

The Lab has taken off in ways I could not have imagined when I left a good job at The Dallas Morning News to start it last year. And while lots of the credit for that goes to our terrific staff, past and present, and to my colleagues here at the Nieman Foundation and Harvard, it primarily goes to our readers, who’ve made it all possible. We’ve got some great ideas for what to do in our second year, some of which you’ll be hearing about shortly, and I’m always happy to hear from you on what you like, what you don’t, and how you think we could be doing a better job. So thanks again, and here’s to Year 2.

Photo from Waxéla Sananda used under a Creative Commons license.

Joshua Benton is the senior writer and former director of Nieman Lab. You can reach him via email ( or Twitter DM (@jbenton).
POSTED     Oct. 27, 2009, 7:50 a.m.
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