While “we” may be the center of attention as content providers, the top news Web sites list this year, based on the volume of links at Google News, is topped by ABC News, The New York Times and Reuters. Compiled annually by NewsKnife.Com, the list is little changed from last year.
1 ABC News
2 New York Times
4 Washington Post
5 Times Online, UK
7 Guardian Unlimited, UK
8 Voice of America
9 Christian Science Monitor
10 International Herald Tribune
What can be read into this analysis? By the numbers:
• Six of the top 12 are associated with newspapers.
• Two have roots as wholesalers—news services. Only since the development of the Internet have they reached out to an end-user audience.
• Two are related to commercial television news operations, one from a magazine, one is a government agency.
• Three are non-U.S. based, with all three being in the U.K. (IHT is nominally located in Paris, but most of its content is from its New York Times parent)
• One, The Christian Science Monitor, by its inclusion on this list, might seem to have far more prominence in the online world than in the print world, where its circulation is about 70,000.
• They are all—no surprise—English language.
Does this ranking tell us anything about online and traditional media institutions? It is important to understand what this is not: a ranking of the most used news sites, though as might be expected there is some overlap. According to Nielsen data, ABC News.com is the fourth largest pure news site, behind the New York Times (discounting higher ranked sites that are essentially news portals, like Yahoo or aggregated listings such as all Gannett sites taken together, except USA Today). And of the others only CNN makes the Nielsen list.
NewsKnife’s analysis essentially awards the greatest weight to the news sites based on the frequency and prevalence of its links. You can see more of the methodology here.
That said, the NewsKnife rankings do reflect the prominence that these sites have in Google’s aggregation of the news and no doubt drives far more traffic to these sites than they would have without Google News. It suggests that relatively small circulation publications can get high visibility, while being a major player in general in other venues (e.g., CBS News, Associated Press) is not an automatic ticket to top ranked accessibility.