People search less for journalism, more for news

According to Google Trends, people search for the word journalism 55% less than they did six years ago. This chart shows how many searches for journalism have been made since January 2004, using the average during that month as a volume of 1. Number crunchers, feel free to take a look at the week-by-week data.

Chart showing the number of times people searched Google for the word journalism between January 2004 and March 2010

Compare that to the search for the word news, which has held on to an increase of about 10% that it experienced in 2008.

Chart showing the number of times people searched Google for the word news between January 2004 and March 2010

People who use Google for search are looking for a little more news, and much less journalism.

What does this mean?

Do people want less journalism, or are they defining journalism differently? Should journalists start worrying less about journalism and more about news? Should they ignore these numbers? How should news organizations react? How does citizen journalism fit into this picture? Is there an empirical definition of news today?

Links are four times more important than social

News consumers care about “links to related material” more than any other feature on news sites according to  the Understanding the Participatory News Consumer report (by Kristen Purcell, Lee Rainie, Amy Mitchell, Tom Rosenstiel and Kenny Olmstead) published March 1, 2010 as part of the Pew Internet & American Life Project.

News participators care about all news site features more than online news consumers

The ability to share news was the second most important, but “following news sites via social networks” came in at the bottom of the list. Twice as many “news participators” found links important, and four times as many “other online news consumers” considered links an important feature.

Should news organizations and journalists focus less attention on gathering an audience on social networks and more attention on providing links?

In an exercise of irony, this post contains no links to related materials. To add to the irony, you can follow me on Twitter @ksablan.

Male journalists followed 3 times more than females

Muck Rack tracks major news organizations on Twitter. Currently, they list journalists from 37 organizations. I recently examined the 3 most followed journalists from each organizations and found 27 of the 111 journalists are women, compared to 84 men.

All one: In two organizations, the three most popular Twitter users were all female. In 17 organizations, they were all male.

Anchor: Six of the most followed tweeting journalists have the word “anchor” or “host” in their job title.

Top 10: Two of the ten most followed on the list are female. Keep in mind this is only looking at the top three from each news organization.

Of course, the information can be sliced and diced to find many more interesting details, so take a look at the data and please share your findings in the comments below.

Update (8/21/09): This post has apparently served as the catalyst for the #folllowwomenjournas hashtag being used in tweets that include endorsements of specific women journalists.

Sites link to Twitter more than three top newspapers combined

According to Google, 77,400 web pages link to

You can find links to a particular web site — the USA Today site for example — by searching for Google for ““. Results for Twitter look like this:

Google search results for sites linking to Twitter

I ran that same kind of search for the top three U.S. newspapers (by circulation), and found 71,200 links to their sites. That’s 6,200 less than Twitter.

Here is a list of the top ten U.S. papers and the number of web pages Google found linking to their sites. Click on a publication to visit its site. Click on a number to get the most recent results from Google: 

[Update, June 5: The list is now ordered according to the number of incoming links. Numbers have not been changed.]

  1. The Washington Post40,400
  2. USA Today: 29,500
  3. The Wall Street Journal: 29,300
  4. Los Angeles Times: 22,900
  5. The New York Times12,400
  6. Chicago Tribune11,600
  7. New York Post10,700
  8. Daily News (New York): 6,150
  9. Houston Chronicle: 5,220
  10. The Arizona Republic: 2,550

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