Guardian vs. ruk

I got curious yesterday about how size of the readership of our local newspaper, The Guardian compares to the size of the readership here.

The Canadian Newspaper Association reports that The Guardian has an average daily readership of 20,237.

The traffic statistics for show that there are approximately 1,000 unique visitors to this site every day. Google Analytics reports similar numbers.

So, in simple terms, The Guardian has 20 times the daily readership.

Of course our counting methods are different, their’s are independently verified, and they have web traffic too. And many of my readers aren’t local.

My advertising revenue is about $6.00 a day (from Google AdSense). My expenses amount to my time — probably about 30 minutes a day, on average — and a slice of a $100/month hosting bill.

The Guardian makes a lot more money, but they also need employees and trucks and paper and paper carriers. I assume they make a lot more money at the end of the day, but I’m willing to bet that when expressed in terms of tonnes of carbon per reader, I’m running a greener operation.

This is not to suggest that I aspire to newspaperness, but it’s and intriguing comparison nonetheless. And it seems to suggest that a wily entrepreneur/journalist could make a run at creating an online publication that would rival The Guardian in readership.


Peter Rukavina's picture
Peter Rukavina on January 30, 2007 - 13:32 Permalink

It’s widely assumed that it’s a violation of Google’s Terms and Conditions for the AdSense program to reveal earnings information. This isn’t true: section 7 states “You may accurately disclose the amount of Google

Marian's picture
Marian on January 30, 2007 - 14:50 Permalink

A lot of people have been thinking this, Peter, the trick is to have your foot in the door and then to make it pay somehow.

Kevin's picture
Kevin on January 30, 2007 - 15:05 Permalink

I can imagine a day when print newspapers no longer exist. When that happens it will likely be due to the proliferation of easy information sources on the net. At that point people will be happier to pony up some cash, either directly or indirectly through advertising, for credible information services than they may now be.

At that point it would be a huge advantage to be the defacto People’s Managing Editor — a 1000 unique visitors a day would put you in the running.

Ann's picture
Ann on January 30, 2007 - 15:28 Permalink

This will probably happen for a more mundane reason than you think. Look at the help wanted section of The Guardian — they can’t find people to deliver the paper. Either they’ll have to pay a hefty price for distribution or they’ll have to go online.
The only problem is that a lot of people still don’t have computers or internet connections (or just have dial up).
Interesting question.

DerekMac's picture
DerekMac on January 30, 2007 - 19:23 Permalink

It would seem that getting rid of the dead tree edition and being more ‘bloggy’ (if that’s not a word, I hereby lay claim to it) are part of Transcontinental’s long-term plan. They have reved up the publicity of late regarding their digital replica edition of the Guardian, targeting it to snowbirds who may want to keep in touch while in warmer climes. This edition is exactly like the Guardian, ads and all, in a PDF format which uses the Zinio reader.
Even more intresting is that the other Transcontinental-owned PEI daily, the Journal-Pioneer have recently introduced the capability of commenting on (some of) their online stories. You have to provide your first-name, email address, and province, and they have a captcha to cut down on spam. You must agree to a lengthy terms of use document before submitting.
I haven’t seen this feature in the Guardian yet, so I assume it is a pilot.
So, while blogs are getting closer to being primary news sources, the local newspapers are getting more blog-like and interactive.

Ann's picture
Ann on January 30, 2007 - 20:49 Permalink

I was intrigued by the comments feature in the Globe and Mail until I started actually reading the comments. Man, they were depressing. I suppose, as a chronic blog commenter, I should watch what I say. But really, there are a lot of people in the world with very strange ideas and enormous axes the grind.

DerekMac's picture
DerekMac on January 30, 2007 - 21:34 Permalink

Oh, and I forgot one other “bloggy” feature — the local papers are starting to realize that news happens more than once a day. Par exemple, the Journal has two stories today, under the masthead “Latest News”, published long after the dead tree edition came out. The Guardian does the same thing, but less so — their stories are usually just the bare facts, with a teaser to pick up tomorrow’s paper edition for the rest of the story. The Journal’s stories are longer, and don’t have the teaser.
I am not sure whether this will result in more subscriptions to the paper edition, but perhaps it will add some ‘stickiness’ and keep their readership intact, rather than going to other less traditional news sources. They can also realize some revenue from the Google Adsense ads on the page.

Rob Paterson's picture
Rob Paterson on January 30, 2007 - 23:10 Permalink

Yes — it’s only a matter of time

If we aggregated 20 good bloggers on PEI we would have the Guardian beat in terms of circulation and I think relevancy.

All it would take is some thought and bit of time

All it would take is for someone to say ” I will be the lead”
Peter if that person was you…….

Peter Rukavina's picture
Peter Rukavina on January 30, 2007 - 23:42 Permalink

Again, I don’t aspire to newspaperness.

And I don’t agree that “20 good bloggers” could come close to providing the service that The Guardian does. Show me a blogger who’s willing to send people to school board and city council meetings, filter through and edit letters to the editor, to set up the obits every morning, collect sports scores from Tignish to Souris. The Guardian may exist in a shrinking medium, but it’s still got relevance, and it still carries out many useful functions that have nothing to do with the skills that bloggers bring to the table.

Charles's picture
Charles on January 31, 2007 - 00:19 Permalink

As a followup to Peter’s comment, there is one other big barrier to a co-operative online newspaper: bloggers’ posts aren’t news. While blog posts can be interesting, especially if you have shared interests with the writer, they would belong more in the Lifestyles section of a newspaper. You don’t often see bloggers giving factual information about court cases, political events (remember the word *factual* earlier in this sentence…) and the like.

DerekMac's picture
DerekMac on January 31, 2007 - 02:40 Permalink

Latest News: The Guardian has just added the same “Latest News” and user comments on stories features as the Journal-Pioneer.

I totally agree with Peter’s comments that there is still a need for an organized newspaper. The medium may change from paper to electrons, but the basic framework of a newspaper still has advantages over aggregators and blogs. Peter may be making a little bit of money from his blog, but the vast majority are not, and there is no substitute for a salary (and an editor) to ensure that someone is there on a daily basis to provide information. Blogs provide some of the op-ed info that it in traditional newspapers, and aggregators may do some of the job of providing the news of the day, but having the structure inherent in a newspaper makes for a much more consistent product. It is great to see that newspapers right here on PEI are venturing into the online world, incorporating user comments, RSS syndication, blogs (they have the RSS link there for them already, so I assume some are in the works), digital replica editions, and updates as the news occurs, rather than once a day. The newspaper has stood the test of time, and is certainly capable of adapting to the new technology.

Andrew MacPherson's picture
Andrew MacPherson on January 31, 2007 - 05:22 Permalink

My last newspaper and magazine subscriptions ended in 1998. It has not made me a less informed person. I do see a day when we rely on institutions like the CBC of very local papers (weeklies/monthlies) like “The Buzz” in Charlottetown or “FastForward” in Calgary for updates on events and community issues. I am an admirer of journalists like Bob Woodward who dig up stories that change the world but I don’t get this feeling from most newspapers. Blogs can fill this function to a certain extent but don’t have the same everyone is on the same page feeling. This can be counteracted by the fact that blogs give a more personal response. A final point on the dailies — too many of the traditional papers are charging people to even read their stories — they collectively just don’t get it.

Justin's picture
Justin on February 1, 2007 - 13:53 Permalink

Hate to burst your bubble, but 1,000 unique visitors a day isn’t 30,000 unique visitors a month. What if the same 1,000 visited your site every day? That’s 1,000 unique a day, 1,000 unique a month.

I only point this out because I have set up a lot of web metrics and always have to explain to non-techies why you can add something like hits or bandwidth, but not visitors or IPs unless you are comparing them across the whole month, not daily.

More likely you are somewhere between 1,000 and 30,000 — which deserves kudos anyway ;-)

Peter Rukavina's picture
Peter Rukavina on February 1, 2007 - 14:06 Permalink

Justin, I don’t believe I suggested anywhere that there are 30,000 uniques coming to every month. Although, that said, Mint tells me that in January 2007 there were 59,067 visits and 31,060 uniques.

Justin's picture
Justin on February 1, 2007 - 19:24 Permalink

Wow… I totally retract that. Upon rereading, I see that you were very plainly suggesting quite the opposite. Sorry about that. Too early in the morning for me to have been commenting :-/