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Demand For Political News Boosts Sept. Traffic To U.S. News Sites
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Demand For Political News Boosts Sept. Traffic To U.S. News Sites

According to Nielsen Online, in September NYTimes.com was the top U.S.-based online newspaper site, while MSNBC Digital Network (MSNBC) was the top U.S. online news outlet, Editor & Publisher reported this week.

The NY Times’ website drew just over 20 million unique visitors in September — a 37% increase over unique traffic to the site last September.

Sept. 2008 Rank Top 10 

Newspaper Sites

(ranked by unique users)

Sept. 2008 Unique Traffic

(in 000’s)

% Growth

Vs. Sept. 2007 Unique Traffic

1 NYTimes.com 20,068 37%
2 washingtonpost.com 12,956 43%
3 USATODAY.com 11,439 33%
4 LA Times 10,022 102%
5 Wall Street Journal Online 9,047 94%
6 Boston.com 8,610 122%
7 SFGate.com/San Francisco Chronicle 5,129 18%
8 New York Post 4,815 98%
9 Politico 4,605 219%
10 Chicago Tribune 4,558 46%
Source: The Nielsen Company (September 2008).

Meanwhile, MSNBC saw 44% year over year growth, reaching 43.2 million unique visitors in September, according to Nielsen.

Sept. 2008 Rank Top 10

Online News Outlets

(ranked by unique users)

Sept. 2008 Unique Traffic

(in 000’s)

% Growth

Vs. Sept. 2007 Unique Traffic

1 MSNBC Digital Network 43,211 44%
2 Yahoo! News 38,073 18%
3 CNN Digital Network 37,277 21%
4 AOL News 21,419 2%
5 NYTimes.com 20,068 37%
6 Tribune Newspapers 18,033 46%
7 ABCNEWS Digital Network 17,181 87%
8 Fox News Digital Network 14,864 91%
9 Gannett Newspapers and Newspaper Division 13,689 11%
10 Google News 13,502 39%
Source: The Nielsen Company (September 2008).

Surging interest in the U.S. presidential campaign likely drove growth for several U.S. news sites in September. 

The Anchorage Daily News in Alaska cracked Nielsen’s top 30 newspaper websites ranking for the first time, following a 928% jump in unique visitors over last September.  Sudden demand for news on Republican Vice Presidential nominee and Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin in September may have driven that dramatic increase. 

Two politics-centric sites, Politico.com (+219%) and TheHuffingtonPost.com (+457%), also saw notably large year over year percentage growth in September.

Meanwhile, Boston.com’s 122% above average growth can perhaps be attributed to Autumn baseball fever in the Hub.

Overall, all but three of the top 30 online news outlets, and all but one of the top 30 newspaper websites, attracted larger online audiences in September 2008 than they did the prior September.

View the top 30 newspaper websites for September in Editor & Publisher.

View the top 30 online news outlets for September in Editor & Publisher.

Read coverage of Nielsen’s findings in the (Toronto) Globe and Mail.