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The Top Websites of Newspapers

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The blog 24/7 Wall St. has an article today on the top newspaper websites. Interestingly, they only include United States-based newspapers and don’t include the Wall Street Journal or USA Today on the following basis:

The Wall Street Journal and USA Today rank among the top 25 newspapers, but they are not included here because they are national properties and have access to corporate budgets which may not be available to most of the websites reviewed.

This seems odd. There are plenty of other newspapers that are corporate. The New York Times, an example of one newspaper with publicly-traded stock. Knight-Ridder and other holding companies (Warren Buffett’s Berkshire-Hathaway owns one of the two D.C.-based papers) also come to mind. So we’re going to keep the WSJ and USA Today off because they have access to deeper pockets? That doesn’t seem right.

The author continues to defend the WSJ’s disuse, saying, “It is a financial publication.” This is also true, which may explain why there is no mention of the financial times. But, that is only its primary focus. Even before the Murdoch bid, the WSJ was using blogs and other progressive media online to provide useful information to its readership on things to do when business folk go back to their normal citizenly lives on nights and weekends (most of them, anyways). Realizing that the WSJ attempts to provide content for all aspects of its readers’ lives is important, because in order for newspapers to be successful in the age of the Internet, they need to do just that.

Before I get into any more complaints, here is the article’s top 10 (of 25):

  1. The New York Times
  2. The Los Angeles Times
  3. The New York Daily News
  4. The New York Post
  5. The Washington Post
  6. The Chicago Tribune
  7. The Houston Chronicle
  8. The Arizona Republic
  9. Newsday
  10. The San Fransisco Chronicle

As alluded to earlier, another problem is the lack of research the author did on other English-language newspapers. Many from across the pond deserve mention for their global focus. After all, how many people in the NY Times’ audience don’t live in the city, or even in the northeast? Do there need to be two lists depending on publications’ reach? The Minneapolis paper, The Star Tribune (#17), has been trying to expand their local neighborhood coverage, because of the losses they were experiencing between smaller city papers which closely cover high school sports and community events and national/global news services/sites/etc.

My favorite is the Times of London’s “Times Online,” which has a very good news section along with London-based (obviously) commentary on current events and culture. The layout is very simple and the utilization of moderated comments (especially character limits on comments) on most articles are very well done.

Another publication with a long-standing online presence is the Guardian. It has one of the cleanest layouts and loads quickly even on Opera Mini on my cell phone. That said, it still has plenty of color and utilizes many powerful internet technologies which would overwhelm the phone.

The bottom line is that further due diligence needed to be completed on the this topic as the list is hardly exhaustive, but it does provide good insight into things newspapers are doing well on the web to maintain readership in the changing media environment.

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Written by walonline

June 3, 2008 at 4:50 pm

Posted in Media, The Web

Tagged with , , , ,

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