What Do Online Newspaper Readers Like?
June 20, 2010, 01:35 PM
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Online versions of newspapers frequently post lists of their most popular current stories, as measured in various ways: most viewed, most emailed, most linked to by blogs. Here are the Los Angeles Times' Most Viewed Articles the evening of Friday, June 19, 2010: Yesterday was the first time I've ever seen all top ten most-viewed stories be sports stories.

The LA Times, which in the last 30 years of the 20th Century tried to compete with the NY Times as the most serious newspaper in the country, has in this century increasingly become a Sports Page-dominated outlet.

Granted, it was a big day in sports in LA, with the Lakers having won the NBA title the night before. And the U.S. Open golf tournament at Pebble Beach is a big deal with the demographic that reads newspapers online (PGA fans are the most likely to vote of all sports fans). A large fraction of LA golfers have at least driven by Pebble Beach Golf Links to ogle it (you can see a lot of the duller inland holes up-close-and-personal from your car, and if you park, you can see the famous 18th without paying anything other than the admission fee to the 17 Mile Drive).

Keep in mind, also, that The Most Viewed Articles have a high self-referential component, dependent in part on how big a push the online paper gives them.

In contrast, the New York Times' most viewed articles at the same time:

The Most Emailed Articles tend to be female-oriented self-help pieces that ladies forward to their friends and loved ones. The Most Blogged articles tend to be male Political Talking Points of the Day stuff.