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BLOGS VS. NEWSPAPERS: WHO HAS MORE READERS?

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By thisistwitchy  •  May 5, 2005 02:05 PM

Michael Malone of ABC News asserts that “[m]any blogs enjoy readerships larger than some major metropolitan newspapers.”

Wow! That’s great news for bloggers! But is it true?

The circulation of most major metropolitan newspapers is 200,000 or more. Many average more than 400,000. By comparison, Instapundit currently averages about 130,000 visits (not unique visitors) a day. Assuming Instapundit’s readers check his site, on average, twice a day, that’s “only” 65,000 readers. So right there, the newspapers have at least a 3-to-1 advantage in readership.

That’s only part of the picture, though, since major newspapers also have web sites that draw far more traffic than top political blogs (see, e.g., Seattle Times vs. Instapundit and Houston Chronicle vs. Daily Kos).

I wish Malone were correct, but it’s clear that the combined readership of any major metropolitian newspaper’s print and electroinc editions dwarfs that of even the mightiest political blog.

Update: Reader feedback…

I think you are missing an important point. Not everyone that gets the paper gets it for the commentary. Before I cancelled my subscription (LA Times), I read the paper for news and sports and never read an editorial. My neighbor only gets the Sunday paper, and then only for the coupons. I have noticed in my neighborhood that back in the day almost every home would get at least one paper and now I can count the deliveries on one hand. Everyone who reads blogs reads them for the commentary; not the sports, not the funnies and not the coupons. I read them for the balanced coverage and the light that is shined where everyone else tries to obfuscate.

***

I check your blog 3-6 times a day, and follow many of the
links. (I really dig your site and your columns. Thanks
for looking out for us). I check other blogs, but not
every day. I do read the Washington Times and New York
Post on line, every day, but only check them once a day,
but I do not subscribe. I did not read these papers until
they came on line, and would not subscribe if they went off
line for some reason.

***
…it’s plausible that each of you, Glenn, PowerLine, Kos [shudder…], Hugh, Charles etc. have more of an impact in affecting opinion than papers with two or three times the circulation have. Nobody clicks on michellemalkin.com to read sports news, obituaries, the police blotter, the want ads or the comics. We just want your take on what you see as the issues of the day — high-octane opinion only, please. But I’ll bet at least one or two of every three newspaper readers never makes it to the editorial and op-ed pages.

Bloggers haven’t replaced newspapers and probably never will, but in terms of the impact on affecting opinion, the gap is narrower than the circulation v. clickulation numbers would indicate.

All good points. No argument from me about the blogosphere’s increasing influence. I just don’t think the blogosphere needs to fall into the same MSM habits of hyping readership figures.

***
Related:
How many Americans read political blogs?
How many Americans read political blogs, part II

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