Think Traditional Media Is On The Online Ropes? Think Again.

by Jason Falls |

Oh, woe is journalism. Daily newspapers are dying. People don’t trust traditional media anymore. The American (and global) consumer has turned to blogs and social networks for news in the new media era.

November research from the Pew Internet and American Life project shows that only 29 percent of the public thinks the news media gets their facts straight and a paltry 18 percent think they deal fairly with both sides of a news issue. Online news has eclipses all channels other than local TV as the top source for local news for Americans. Online news has eclipsed all channels other than television for American’s source for national and international news.

It’s over. Put a nail in the coffin of newspapers and traditional media.

Or wake up and get a healthy dose of reality.

Just for gits and shiggles, I decided to run traffic comparisons of local newspapers and top news, politics or entertainment blogs in several markets across the U.S. Without exception, newspaper websites still kick blogging’s ass.

In Philadelphia, Philly.com trounces Phillyist and Philebrity:

Philadelphia website comparisons: Traditional Media vs. Blogs

In Albuquerque, The Journal has around 150 times the traffic of DukeCityFix, a leading entertainment and events blog.

Albuquerque Website Comparison - Traditional Media vs. Blogs

In Portland, The Tribune is hardly worried about competition from The Portlander.

Website Traffic comparison - Portland traditional media and Portland blogs

In Chicago, the distance between the Tribune and Chicagoist is like that between the Cubs and a World Series title.

Website traffic comparison - Traditional media versus blogs - Chicago

And in my hometown of Louisville, The Ville Voice gets around one percent of the traffic of the Courier-Journal.

Web traffic comparison - Traditional media versus blogs - Louisville

Certainly, Compete.com data is not 100 percent accurate, but I would venture to guess none of the blogs would surrender their actual analytics for fear we would know their actual traffic, which I’d be willing to bet many are reporting much higher than it actually is. The simple fact of the matter is that while local news and information blogs have niche audiences that are appealing to a number of advertisers for a number of reasons, when you look at traditional media versus new media in online news, the majority of people still prefer their news from the traditional media houses.

Just another reminder that social media is an emerging and relevant channel to which public relations professionals should pitch stories and brands should connect with audiences. But the rest of the world is outside the bubble. Forget about them at your own peril.

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About the Author

Jason Falls

Jason Falls is a leading thinker, speaker and strategist in the world of digital marketing and is co-author of two books, No Bullshit Social Media: The All-Business, No-Hype Guide To Social Media Marketing and The Rebel's Guide To Email Marketing. By day, he leads digital strategy for Elasticity, one of the world's most innovative digital marketing and public relations firms. Follow him on Twitter (@JasonFalls).