Nine of the top 20 news sites are run by newspaper companies, according to Editor and Publisher, based on stats from Nielsen NetRatings. Here’s what I found in the data they presented:

  • Three news sites have average session lengths of more than thirty minutes: NY Times (34:13), Fox News (34:56), and Drudge Report (37:41).
  • If you combine Gannett newspapers and USA Today, the unique audience may put Gannett sites in the top 3.
  • The top 3 sites (CNN, MSNBC, and Yahoo! News) are better-suited to breaking news than the typical newspaper site.
  • Yahoo! News, AOL.com News, and Drudge Report are the only aggregators in the top 20.
  • NY Times, Washington Post, LA Times and NY Post (!) are the only single newspapers in the top 20. The other newspaper sites contain all the sites in multi-paper chains.
  • AOL/TW sites (CNN, Time, AOL.com News) collectively have 50% more traffic than number two MSNBC.
  • Internet Broadcasting Systems, which creates web sites for local TV stations is in the top ten.
  • Knight-Ridder is not on the list, apparently humiliated by Belo, Internet Broadcasting Systems, NY Post, and Matt Drudge!
  • Associated Press is number nineteen, just squeaking past Drudge Report.

My conclusions: It’s essential to build a reputation for covering breaking news in real time; having a point of view is desireable; the future probably doesn’t belong to aggregators, but partnerships (such as those cultivated by CNN and MSNBC) could be a very important success factor; and daily newpapers are not setting the pace in online news.