Insights into the Newest BurrellesLuce Top Media List

May 19th, 2009

Gail Nelson
BurrellesLuce Top Media Outlets May 2009BurrellesLuce recently prepared a new version of its respected top media list just in time for the Media Relations Summit. The two-page reference, “Top Media Outlets 2009,” includes newspapers, blogs, social networks, and consumer magazines. It’s a trusted desktop reference for many PR professionals.

A couple of years back, BurrellesLuce compiled this list annually. Now, BurrellesLuce issues an update whenever significant, new information becomes available. The catalyst for this release: the six-month update of newspaper circulation from the Audit Bureau of Circulation (ABC). After ABC publicly released the Top 25 newspaper list a couple of weeks ago, BurrellesLuce dove deeper into the data to determine the Top 100 dailies. Some highlights:

  1. The circulation listing reflects the changing industry. For example, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer and Rocky Mountain News both ceased print operations. The Seattle Post-Intelligencer morphed into an online-only publication. Former Rocky Mountain News staffers plan to launch the Rocky Mountain Independent, a daily online news magazine, this summer.
  2. While print circulation continues to trend down, a look beyond the top one-third of the list shows a surprising amount of stability. Twenty-three of the papers (ranked 34 -100) actually reported increases in Monday-Friday daily circulation during the latest period.
  3. New to the Top 100 list are The Baton Rouge Advocate and The Sarasota Herald-Tribune.

The list of top blogs, featuring Technorati Authority figures from February 15, 2009, remained pretty much the same since BurrellesLuce last distributed the list. What’s significant is that audience figures for almost all of the blogs (Mashable is a notable exception) posted declines.

An article by Matthew Hurst, “Is Authority Migrating?” from the March 10, 2009 edition of Data Mining: Text Mining, Visualization and Social Media, spurred a debate on the underlying reasons. Brian Solis at TechCrunch postulates the number of inbound links to blogs from other blogs is dipping as micro-blogs and other attention sources gain ground. Rather than link to something from your blog, you might link to it from Twitter. Dorian Carroll from Technorati rebuts that theory, claiming the decline is due to Technorati’s success in stripping spam blogs (splogs) from its index.

Whatever the reason, it’s clear that while blogs are increasing in quantity, their Technorati authority has taken a hit. For instance, just last November, Technorati counted 32,493 links towards Engadget‘s “authority.” Now, it counts just half that amount (16,326). Even TechCrunch’s link authority, as measured by Technorati, is down by several thousand links; yet its relative position in the overall ranking (No. 3) hasn’t moved.

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