Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

On the Web, the New York Times Really Is the Paper of Record

newspaperlessWhile we rend our clothes over the demise-to-be of the New York Times, all the while bemoaning the company’s inability to adapt to the Web, let’s take a second to acknowledge something: By the standards of every other newspaper company in the world, the Times really has gotten the Web down pretty well.

Evidence: This eye-popping traffic chart, created by the smart fellows at Nieman Journalism Lab, using data from Nielsen Online, via Editor & Publisher (and yes, if you’re counting–this is the third time this info has been repurposed).


Boilerplate caveats: Nielsen data are different than internal logs, Nielsen data are different than comScore, Gawker Media has a bigger audience than the Los Angeles Times, etc., etc.

Big picture: No other daily newspaper that employs actual journalists to write real news stories comes close to the Times online. This includes my employers at News Corp. (NWS), who are making a concerted effort to position The Wall Street Journal as a Times competitor for general interest readers. (News Corp. is the owner of Dow Jones, which owns the Journal and this Web site.)

As always, this distinction won’t do much for the Times if paper can’t afford to stay in business. But it’s worth noting that in a world where all of us are supposedly creating our own news aggregators and building our own microsites full of news that appeals only to us, more and more of us end up visiting the paper of record. Surely that’s worth something, no?

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There was a worry before I started this that I was going to burn every bridge I had. But I realize now that there are some bridges that are worth burning.

— Valleywag editor Sam Biddle