We’d get more readers if we gave them less freakin’ news to read

I missed this in August from Rich Gordon:

On the Web, though, newspapers have clearly emphasized news first.
Which is a big part of the reason why so few people visit newspaper Web

Yep, more news means fewer visitors..

News junkies like all the news choices they have, but others do not. Gordon points to Markus Prior of Princeton University estimate that only 10 to 15 percent of Americans are news junkies.

The news junkies, however, are the users that move the metrics and we focus even more on what they want because they are generating more pageviews and longer times on site. And thus we have less of what more casual news consumers want. Sort of like drinking ourselves to death?


  1. Is he really advising to provide “less news”? He’s not. In fact, he explicitly writes: “For news junkies, you should publish more news than ever…”
    He suggests a “two-tier content approach” that expands both offerings: news and what he calls “entertainment,” by which I’m not sure what he means, exactly — though whatever it is, he’s not suggesting it replace news.

  2. For news junkies, yes, they want as much new content as they can get, but they’re a niche. The two-tiered approach might even had to involve different home pages or even different sites. Many users find newspaper sites just bewildering. Presenting less news may be just the way to attract more causal readers, those not “hooked” on our content.

  3. I agree with Jack about the poor design of most newspaper sites. My local paper just upgraded its format from difficult to unusable.

  4. I thought this was going to be a discussion of articles pressenting “Top Ten Blah” or “Ways You Can Blah”, and presenting only one at a time, obnoxiously forcing you to click through for each.

  5. Sorry, my interpretation of your post may have been a bit colored by the link that led me here (from Instapundit, who seems to be on a perpetual mission to denigrate traditional news media — aka biting the hand that feeds him).
    I see your point now.

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