UPDATE: Since my original post, I’ve received some new information from Dan Barkin, The News & Observer’s senior editor for online, about traffic to newsobserver.com. He — and others today — have pointed out that audience counts really depend on how you define your market. Statewide audience really doesn’t matter to ad buyers. Agreed, but I think it does matter in terms of editorial impact on issues of public affairs.
In an e-mail, Barkin said that “Some recent Media Audit numbers showed that WRAL.com reaches 51% of Triangle adults. Newsobserver.com (net of all of our sites) reaches 41.5% of Triangle adults.”
He said newsobserver.com reached about 50 percent more people in July and August of this year than the same months last year, but he also noted that page views had jumped only about 15 percent in those two months.
Original Post (12:55 p.m.):
Following up on my interview that aired earlier this morning on WUNC radio, I just got off the phone with Matt Tatham, the director of media relations for Hitwise. His company provided the data for the WUNC story, and I wanted to know more.
And, once again, the care that needs to be taken when talking about online audience numbers becomes apparent. According to Hitwise, WRAL clobbered The News & Observer online during August, but I think the clobbering was done in a manner that is slightly different than the one emphasized in the story.
As they say on Marketplace, let’s do the numbers …