Over 4,600 news and information websites vie for online traffic, yet only the top seven percent account for 80 percent of the online traffic. Furthermore, the Nielsen Analysis by the PEW Project for Excellence in Journalism found that 67 percent of news sites are tied to legacy media which account for 66 percent of the total traffic.
While legacy media sustain higher traffic, their sites have room for improvement. In terms of citizen upload capability, only one-third offered photo uploading and less than one-third allowed for news and features. Legacy news is slightly better at allowing contributions for community news and letters to the editor. There is still room to advance in those areas too.
Legacy media achieves higher traffic because these sites offer resources that allow for greater credibility compared to citizen journalism. According to an article by Reynolds Journalism Institute, “A significantly higher percentage of commercial sites display privacy policies, outline guidelines and restrictions for contributors’ behavior list legal and copyright information, and provide ways for users to contact them than do the citizen journalism sites studied.”
Interactive elements of legacy media sites also increase their appeal. For example, commercial sites offer more interactive polls, video, and classified ads.
Citizen sites do tend to offer more links. These links, however, are primarily to legacy sites that they use as news sources. According to a press release by PhysOrg, “Citizen sites linked to legacy news sites twice as often as legacy sites linked to citizen sites.”
Cable news stations and newspapers may have the most loyal followers, but according to the Nielsen Analysis, “The average visitor spends only 3 minutes 4 seconds per session on the typical news sites.”
How long do you spend looking up the news? Do you trend toward legacy media sites to get your news?