Media Web Sites See Traffic Spike Covering Breaking News

This week in Arkansas Business, Outtakes media reporter Mark Hengel takes a look at how Little Rock media covered the Bill Gwatney story online. All local TV stations and two print publications reported seeing traffic spikes on the day Arkansas Democratic Party Chairman Bill Gwatney was shot — showing the very real presence of a substantial online news audience.

First, the TV guys. KTHV-TV, Channel 11 reported unique visitors of more than 131,000, well above the normal 20,000-30,000; and KLRT-TV, Channel 16, reported more than 15,900 visitors, above its average of about 7,800.

Many stations offered streaming video of live news conferences. KTHV logged 1,100 unique visitors to that video, and KLRT reported 2,700 visitors.

KATV-TV, Channel 7, and KARK-TV, Channel 4, wouldn’t release its Web numbers, but both reported spikes in traffic — KARK’s ArkansasMatters.com even crashed temporarily due to the traffic.

As for print media, Arkansas Times’ Arkansas Blog and our own ArkansasBusiness.com each devoted resources to breaking news coverage online that day, and the audience was there for those sites as well:

Max Brantley, the Times’ editor, said the weekly’s Web site, www.arktimes.com, scored about 24,000 unique visitors Aug. 13, compared with an average day of between 8,000 and 10,000 unique visitors.

The numbers for www.arkansasbusiness.com also spiked on Aug. 13. On a normal day, about 8,000 unique visitors reach the site and generate 10,500 visits and 46,000 page views, according to Google Analytics. On Aug. 13, www.arkansasbusiness.com reached about 22,000 unique visitors, who visited the site 32,000 times and generated 123,000 page views.

The lesson of course is that when news happens, more and more people are hitting the Web first to find out more.

Much more in Hengel’s report here.

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