How the Top 25 U.S. Newspapers Stack Up Online

by Jeremy Porter on October 15, 2010

Top 25 U.S. Newspapers

Most newspaper rankings are usually based on circulation numbers from the Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC). It makes sense to rank newspapers by circulation, since the more papers that ship, the more people a paper reaches and the more influence it has. That seems a little outdated. What if you took the top 25 newspapers – at least as far as the ABC is concerned – and ranked them by different criteria.

Over the course of the next couple of posts, I’ll take a look at the top 25 papers by a different set of online criteria: website traffic, Google PageRank, Twitter Followers and Facebook Friends.

Before I start breaking down the newspapers by different criteria, let’s start by looking at the top papers by circulation (based on March 2010 ABC numbers):

  1. Wall Street Journal – 2,092,523
  2. USA Today    1,826,622
  3. New York Times    951,063
  4. Los Angeles Times    616,606
  5. Washington Post    578,482
  6. Daily News    535,059
  7. New York Post    525,004
  8. San Jose Mercury News / Contra Costa Times / Oakland Tribune  516,701
  9. Chicago Tribune    516,032
  10. Houston Chronicle    494,131
  11. Arizona Republic    433,731
  12. Philadelphia Inquirer / Philadelphia Daily News    356,189
  13. Newsday    334,809
  14. Denver Post    333,675
  15. Star Tribune    295,438
  16. St. Petersburg Times    278,888
  17. Chicago Sun-Times    268,803
  18. The Plain Dealer    267,888
  19. The Oregonian    263,600
  20. The Seattle Times    263,468
  21. Dallas Morning News    260,659
  22. Detroit Free Press    252,017
  23. San Diego Union-Tribune    249,630
  24. San Francisco Chronicle    241,330
  25. The Star-Ledger    236,017

With all the talk of newspapers dying the past couple of years, you have to admit the circulation numbers are pretty impressive. Will that reach translate to the Web? Does offline popularity translate online? We’ll find out over the course of the next couple of posts (my next post will focus on the top 25 newspapers by website traffic).

Can’t wait for the next couple of posts? You can dig into the data yourself (see the spreadsheet below):

DISCLAIMER: there is a lot of data in this spreadsheet, pulled from hours of research across many different sources – it’s possible there are some typos in here or I pulled information from the wrong source. If you find an error, let me know and I’ll fix it.


The Top 25 U.S. Newspapers by Website Traffic

by Jeremy Porter on October 15, 2010

top 25 newspapers by website traffic

Following up on my last post about how newspapers stack up online, I wanted to explore whether or not the newspapers with the largest circulation also have the most website traffic? If you look at the total unique visitors to each newspaper’s website over the past 12 months (as estimated by Compete.com), the top five U.S. newspapers remain the same – though using this measure, USA Today does climb into the top spot.

Does offline popularity translate into online popularity? It would appear so at first glance. When you remove the limitations of physical distribution, some newspapers expand their influence online. Here are the top 25 U.S. newspapers ranked by total unique monthly visitors for the past 12 months (average monthly visitors are in parenthesis):

  1. USA Today – 239,425,560
  2. The New York Times – 217,513,400
  3. The Wall Street Journal122,397,004
  4. The Los Angeles Times 94,889,543
  5. The Washington Post – 9,1758,837
  6. New York Daily News82,225,690
  7. The San Francisco Chronicle – 46,696,844
  8. The New York Post45,903,055
  9. The Chicago Tribune33,230,030
  10. The Star-Ledger – 31,836,326
  11. The San Jose Mercury News, Contra Costa Times and The Oakland Tribune – 28,391,971 (combined)
  12. Chicago Sun-Times – 27,351,047
  13. Philadelphia Inquirer and Philadelphia Daily News 23,797,570
  14. The Houston Chronicle23,203,975
  15. The Dallas Morning News 22,858,507
  16. The Arizona Republic20,598,071
  17. The StarTribune20,537,048
  18. The Denver Post 20,058,704
  19. The Plain Dealer18,755,471
  20. The Oregonian 17,421,959
  21. The Detroit Free Press15,522,009
  22. The Tampa Tribune13,280,440
  23. Newsday 11,443,807
  24. San Diego Union-Tribune10,928,313
  25. Seattle Times375,347

While traffic is a good measure of of a newspaper’s reach online, it’s not necessarily a direct correlation to how much authority a newspaper has. A better measure of online authority is Google PageRank – which I’ll explore further in my next post.

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