Top 25 U.S. Newspapers On Twitter

While the Top 50 U.S. newspapers seem to be just starting to build up their fan base on Facebook, Twitter has been a priority for a while. If you were to rank the Top 25 U.S. newspapers by Twitter followers, the order would be much different than if you were to rank them by circulation.

When it comes to Twitter followers, The New York Times is the top bird with more than 2.6 million followers. To illustrate how impressive this follower number is, The Wall Street Journal only has 464,591 followers in the #2 spot. The New York Times is the ONLY newspaper from the Top 25 with more Twitter followers than print circulation.

Maybe The New York Times has such a huge Twitter following because it was the first of the Top 25 to join Twitter, way back in March 2, 2007. Probably not, since The Contra Costa Times, The Washington Post and The Oregonian all joined later that month.

How do the top 15 U.S. newspapers stack up when you rank them by Twitter followers? Here’s the list (click on the link to follow the newspaper on Twitter):

  1. @nytimes – 2,668,948
  2. @wsj – 464,591
  3. @washingtonpost – 204,514
  4. @latimes – 83,335
  5. @usatoday – 72,929
  6. @newyorkpost – 57,605
  7. @chicagotribune – 34,490 *
  8. @denverpost – 32,755
  9. @dallas_news – 24,726
  10. @seattletimes – 22,286
  11. @suntimes – 18,952
  12. @freep – 18,851
  13. @nydailynew – 15,744
  14. @houstonchron – 14,108
  15. @azcentral – 10,407
  16. @oregonian – 10,338
  17. @phillyinquirer – 9,819
  18. @SFGate – 9,508
  19. @clevelanddotcom – 7,943
  20. @MN_News – 7,008
  21. @NJ_News – 6,181
  22. @SDUT – 5,886
  23. @tampabaycom – 3,168
  24. @insidebayarea – 2,810
  25. @cctimes – 2,705
  26. @mercurynews – 2,536
  27. @newsday – 2,302

* UPDATE: it has been brought to my attention that The Chicago Tribune also has @ColonelTribune, a Twitter account that boasts a following of more than 845,000 Twitter followers. It appears this is their primary account, which would put them in the #2 spot on this list.

While we’re on the topic of newspapers and Twitter, I was surprised to see that only The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Los Angeles Times have Verified Twitter accounts – one two out of 25 of the top U.S. newspapers. As a credible source of information, you would think having a verified account would be a high priority for all the organizations on this list.

Note: these numbers are a little over a week old as of the posting date, but they were gathered within a one-hour timeframe to get the most accurate snapshot. I also realize newspapers have more than one Twitter account in some cases – I went with the primary Twitter account for the newspaper, versus any individual celebrity that might work for the paper.

About Jeremy Porter 214 Articles
Jeremy Porter has been passionate about the intersection of public relations and journalism since studying both Public Relations and Journalism at Utica College of Syracuse University in the late 90s. Porter launched Journalistics in 2009 to share his ideas and insights around both professions and how trends and developments in modern day marketing, communications, and technology impact those working in these fields. Porter also values the traditions and history of both professions and regularly shares his perspective in these areas - and related topics geared toward the next generation of journalism and public relations professionals.

50 Comments

  1. Although I appreciate you putting the list together, I’d be more interested seeing this list (and the Facebook one) compiled by the number followers on the social networks, not by print circulation. The list would look a lot different. There are a lot of smaller papers who have bigger social media communities than many of the big papers. I realize that would be more difficult, but it would be more useful as well. Also, some papers have many accounts, which makes this list a bit misleading. For instance, Chicago Tribune’s @coloneltribune has 800k+ followers.

    Cheers,
    Robert Quigley
    @statesman

    • Hey Quig, don’t be shy-Let ’em know how many @statesman followers there are…(26,767 as of this posting)

      Plus this list doesn’t include journalist that work for these publications that consider their accounts part of the each paper

  2. Canada has two national newspapers and 1/10 the population of the US, so on a per capita basis? …. @globeandmail 23,055 followers, @nationalpost 9,661 followers …. JB

    • You posted the National posts following, not followers.

      But yes, the most interesting thing about this list is how these papers compare against papers in a market with 1/10th the population.

      @MontrealGazette 28,311
      @GlobeAndMail 23,054
      @TorontoStar 21,015
      @NationalPost 14,389
      @VancouverSun 12,887

      • The comparison is great. If their circulation and geography put them in the Top 25 U.S. papers, they would be on this Twitter post. Thanks for adding this additional info though, I’m sure readers will appreciate it.

    • Thanks Brad – nice to have one positive comment. I tried to pull together the most-accurate information I could find online.

    • Ralph – this is NOT a list of the top newspapers on Twitter, it is a list of the top 25 U.S. newspapers (by circulation) ranked (better yet, reordered) by the number of Twitter followers each paper has for its primary Twitter account.

      There are plenty of posts out there that list newspapers and their Twitter accounts – this was an analysis of how the Top 25 U.S. newspapers would fare if ranked by a different set of criteria, such as Twitter followers, Facebook friends, Google PageRank, etc.

      If it were just a list, I would agree with your position.

  3. For perspective on smaller-circulation papers and their Twitter accounts, here are some of the other Tribune-owned properties:

    The Orlando Sentinel has 13,668 (http://twitter.com/orlandosentinel)
    The South Florida Sun-Sentinel has 9,683 (http://twitter.com/sunsentinel)
    The Hartford Courant has 4,892 (http://twitter.com/hartfordcourant)
    The Morning Call has 2,958 (http://twitter.com/mcall)
    The Daily Press has 2,947 followers (http://twitter.com/daily_press)

    Those counts are only for their main Twitter accounts, not their departmenal/topic accounts or their individual reporter accounts.

    • Houston Chronicle is on the list (and has been all along). San Antonio doesn’t make the list, because they’re not in the Top 25 by circulation.

  4. I wonder if any papers on the list besides the NYT made Twitter’s Suggested Users List when it was still around. That list drove a lot of followers to whomever was fortunate to be on it.

  5. Also @nydntransit should be counted with the @nydailynews main account, not to mention other minor accounts.

    Very interesting post, I agree with the fact that they should verify their twitter accounts.

  6. Twitter has suspended it’s verification program since at least August, so nobody’s getting verified these days. It was likely offered to those biggest accounts early on in Twitter’s beta program, but it has not been made available to everyone. I’ve tried several times to verify @TBD and @Cincienquirer (my former employer).

    See here for more: http://support.twitter.com/groups/31-twitter-basics/topics/111-features/articles/119135-about-verified-accounts

  7. This interesting, but I think the key is not how many followers a paper might have, but the ROI and engagement that a Twitter presence creates. The Bivings Report graded the United States’ top 100-circ papers’ Twitter presence last year. It’s easy to just post links to stories, but there’s more to taking advantage of social media than that empty gesture. Who cares how many followers you have if you don’t do anything with it?

  8. I love this topic, but it’s highly misleading. I doubt the 25th most followed paper on twitter is only at just over 2,000. And what about the Detroit News? That’s one of the biggest papers in Michigan, not to mention it has over 14,000 followers, and it isn’t even on the list!

    Regardless though, very, very cool idea if it were done properly.

  9. Thank you for sharing this list. You have @sdut listed at 22. It was interesting to see how our marquee account compared to others, but The San Diego Union-Tribune has more Twitter followers than that. Our @sdutChargers feed alone has more than 8,000 followers. If you add up the number of followers on all our Twitter accounts, you’ll find we have more than 27,000 followers. (Of course some people follow several of our accounts. The number of unique followers would be less.) It would be interesting to see a list that took into account all the Twitter accounts the top 25 newspapers run.

    Best,
    Rob Hopwood
    Social Media Specialist
    The San Diego Union-Tribune and SignOnSanDiego.com

    • Thanks for sharing the additional information. I stuck to the primary account for this one, since a lot of newspapers have dozens of Twitter feeds. @ajc for example has about 80 feeds – it’s a tall order to find all those accounts, add them up and see how the newspapers are doing across the board on Twitter (then again, maybe I’ll have some time this winter).

      For now, I think it’s a fair comparison between papers – at least as far as how they value their primary feed is concerned.

      For obvious reasons, Twitter feeds focused on Sports, Entertainment or Deals related to the newspaper tend to have more followers.

  10. This list omits the @PioneerPress with 6,156 followers. I’m looking at the other comments here and concluding the research on this needs a redo. At least, there should be a parallel list ranking papers by number of Twitter followers regardless of the papers’ size, not just a misleading list of the “top papers” and how many Twitter followers each has.

  11. @Indystar — Indianapolis Star twitter account has 11,698 followers. It would’ve ranked 15th based on your published list but I see others have chimed in, so I’d say it’s definitely top 25, though!

  12. The US case is interesting.

    But, if you look outside the US, you will see a lot more innovation in news on Twitter than in many US markets. Kompas in Jakarta would be in your top 5 – with over 200,000 followers, The Star in KL would also rank pretty high with over 30,000 followers, and then there is the Straits Times in Singapore who is always trying new things – with close to 30,000 followers. In many cases these media companies also have a full set of other speciality Twitter feeds, that allow better targeting. …

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  53. #JRC social media efforts outpacing some of nation’s largest print publications | From Fenway to Philly

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