Time to swing to the positive side of newspapers, meaning their online readership growth.
Yes, the rub for newspapers these days is that they have more readers than ever for their journalism, if the Internet is included. But they are more strained financially than ever, because they are losing lots of classified advertising to specialty Web sites, and their own banner ads do not offset this. And their print product is also hurt by rising newsprint and delivery costs.
Still, those problems may not always be so severe, when the U.S. economy improves and more is known about target marketing, etc.
The Times, of course, is arguably the nation’s third most influential newspaper and the largest newsgathering organization west of the Mississippi River. Editor Russ Stanton, a former colleague of mine at the Orange County (CA) Register, rose to that position this year after being in charge of sprucing up the Times’ Web operation. I like that the Times displays lots of California-oriented breaking news and still shows off its many blogs.
I’m a bit surprised by the AJC’s top 10 status, though I visit the site regularly. Even some AJC staffers ackowledge that the site is hard to navigate, and it’s weak on graphics and video. Also, it does not offer many links to blogs, and it emphasizes too many things that can be found in the print edition. But Atlanta is still a large city with much appeal nationally, and it’s a college football hotbed.