Comparing VFR’s readership to that of a big newspaper

Coming across an article at about Sarah Palin’s big book signing event at Fort Hood, I figured out after some looking (they don’t make it easy) that is the website of the Houston Chronicle. Noticing a couple of tell-tale liberal signs at the site, such as a reference, in scare quotes, to Tiger Woods’s “transgressions” (as though it were only someone’s opinion that committing industrial scale adultery is a transgression) [correction 12-7: I just realized that “transgressions” in quotes must have been referring to Woods’s own description of his extramarital affairs], I looked up the Chronicle at Wikipedia to find out if it was considered a liberal or conservative paper. The first thing I saw was basic information about the paper’s size and Web readership:

The Houston Chronicle is the largest daily paper owned and operated by the Hearst Corporation, a multinational corporate media conglomerate with $4 billion in revenues. The paper employs nearly 2,000 people, including approximately 300 journalists, editors, and photographers. The Chronicle has bureaus in Washington, D.C. and Austin. Its web site averages more than 75 million page views per month[2].

Curious to compare David with Goliath, I checked View from the Right’s own readership figures and found that last month VFR had a total of 766,980 page views. So this one-man website had just over one hundredth the page views of a national paper employing 2,000 people.

If we round off the ratio of VFR’s monthly page views to the Chronicle’s to one-hundredth, it means that the Chronicle produces 100 times more page views than VFR with 2,000 staff members as compared to VFR’s one “staff member.” Which means that VFR gets 20 times more page views per staff person than the Houston Chronicle.

That sounds pretty impressive. But there’s a factor I’ve left out. Much of VFR’s content is facilitated or produced by readers, who send me many of the articles I link and discuss and who write lots of excellent comments that make the site what it is. But how would one translate VFR’s commenters’ contributions into an equivalent of a number of staff persons? I can’t imagine how. So I don’t know how to reduce to a more accurate figure VFR’s huge-seeming advantage over the Chronicle of 20 times more page views per staff person.

- end of initial entry -

Ken H. writes from Houston:

The Chronicle is, as you could guess with a much better than even chance of being right, a liberal paper. Much more liberal than the general population here in Houston and certainly more liberal than Texas in general. In fact, the only major paper in Texas that is probably more liberal is the Austin American-Statesman (which interestingly is neither very American, nor very Statesman). Austin, of course, is in that pantheon occupied by Ann Arbor, Berkeley, Cambridge, and a select few others of the liberal hive mind.

The Chronicle is outstanding in that their website is one of the better done newspaper sites you will find. They were early in the game and they appear to take the web seriously, not doling out only dribs and drabs of their content to the web, but making much of it available. I have to admit that I use the site occasionally myself, but then that’s also true of the NYT site.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at December 06, 2009 02:58 PM | Send

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