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Bloggin', Bloggin', Bloggin, Keep Those Papers Bloggin'

Frank Ahrens

Here's some rare good news for the newspaper industry: People are reading newspaper blogs.

A report out today from Nielsen/NetRatings, which monitors online use, shows that traffic to blogs at the 10 busiest online papers more than tripled in December 2006 compared to December 2005, from 1.2 million unique users to 3.8 million unique users.

Meanwhile, traffic to the rest of the Top 10 papers was up 9 percent year-over-year, from 27 million unique users to 30 million unique users. By comparison, average daily circulation at U.S. newspapers fell 2.8 percent during the six-month period ending in September, according to ABC.

As Post I.T. did not exist in December 2005 (except in my mind), we're not counted. But as the Brooklyn Dodgers fans used to say, "Wait 'til next year!"

Nielsen/NetRatings also found that traffic to online newspapers skews male (60/40), and traffic to newspaper blogs skews even more male (66/34).

Why is that? What are we not providing? Or are women just too busy to read blogs, and our audience is guys in dark basements with manifestos pinned to the wall, surrounded by empty pizza boxes and a multi-player online game? (Okay, okay. That's probably only a small percentage of our readers. And we love you!)

Opinions, please.

By the way, here's Nielsen's Top 10 online newspapers in terms of traffic:

1. NYTimes.com
2. USAToday.com
3. Washingtonpost.com
4. LATimes.com
5. SFGate.com (San Francisco Chronicle)
6. Boston.com (Boston Globe)
7. Chicagotribune.com
8. NYPost.com
9. WSJ.com (Wall Street Journal)
10. NYDailynews.com (New York Daily News)

By Frank Ahrens  |  January 17, 2007; 12:04 PM ET  | Category:  Frank Ahrens
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Comments

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I'm a woman and a faithful reader of washpost.com and blogs on the site!

Posted by: takoma park | January 17, 2007 3:25 PM

God love ya, Takoma Park!

Keep at it! Tell your girlfriends!

Posted by: Frank Ahrens | January 17, 2007 3:29 PM

stats on gender on line will never be completely accurate, as many women on line still register as 'male' because they prefer anonymity and it cuts down on the harassment that still exists on line for women. who knows how many women either don't bother to change the default 'male' setting on the gender settings or who lie to preserve some anonymity?

Posted by: genderbender | January 17, 2007 4:07 PM

"more than doubled in December 2006 compared to December 2005, from 1.2 million unique users to 3.8 milllion unique users"

Perhaps "more than tripled" would have been more accurate? Maybe the extra "l' in the second million is also part of the new math?

To the point of the post, for me, online news has replaced TV and print news, and news-site blogs carry the stamp of the parent company while providing the blogger a somewhat independent voice.

For skew, my guess is that most news-site readers are doing so from work, and as everyone knows, men slack off at work more than women. I should know, 'cause I'm the Slacker King.

Posted by: Mad Adder | January 17, 2007 5:01 PM

Haha!

Thanks for the help, Mad Adder (any relation to Blackadder?). Will fix after deadline.

Posted by: Frank Ahrens | January 17, 2007 5:59 PM

I am a woman and like newspaper blogs because they aren't floating in space as much as random blogs. But even on newspaper blogs I have to hide my gender. On one newspaper blog I used a female name and got totally trashed with seriously cunning unfair attacks. I switched to a nongender name, said basically the same thing and never got attacked.

This kind of thing sucks, but it is outside the newspaper's control. Don't worry about the M/F slant, just provide plenty of fresh material and let the blogs evolve. Attackers will just get more cunning if you impose rules and regs. Blogland is supposed to be wild, don't fight it.

Posted by: woman | January 17, 2007 6:26 PM

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