Newspapers Come Up With Data To Delude Themselves That Their Web Efforts Are Going Well
from the see-no-evil dept
While newspapers, on the whole, continue to flounder online, they've released some data at their trade group's national convention which seems intended to convince themselves that they're really doing a great job with this whole web thing. They claim that "the audience for newspaper Web sites is growing at nearly twice the rate of the overall online audience" -- which sounds really great, but is really pretty meaningless. First, the online newspaper audience grew by just over 5 percent last year, which isn't exactly staggering. Second, with the growth in total people online slowing (just 2.7 percent last year), screaming that your audience is growing more quickly makes it clear you're fishing for something to spin as good news. Also, as pointed out in the comments on the original post, it's quite possible that while the number of readers increased, the number of page views per reader (or, indeed, overall traffic) fell -- a scenario that seems likely given the way people use search engines to find information with little loyalty to specific sites. Given that the NAA didn't release any information on page views or overall traffic and focused instead on sheer number of visitors, making no distinction about how often they visited sites or how many pages they viewed, it's hard not to believe they just set out to find something they could spin to make it look like their members' online efforts are going well.