Top 25 U.S. Newspapers Online

Most newspaper rankings are usually based on circulation numbers from the Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC). It makes sense to rank newspapers by circulation, since the more papers that ship, the more people a paper reaches and the more influence it has. That seems a little outdated. What if you took the top 25 newspapers – at least as far as the ABC is concerned – and ranked them by different criteria.

Over the course of the next couple of posts, I’ll take a look at the top 25 papers by a different set of online criteria: website traffic, Google PageRank, Twitter Followers and Facebook Friends.

Before I start breaking down the newspapers by different criteria, let’s start by looking at the top papers by circulation (based on March 2010 ABC numbers):

  1. Wall Street Journal – 2,092,523
  2. USA Today    1,826,622
  3. New York Times    951,063
  4. Los Angeles Times    616,606
  5. Washington Post    578,482
  6. Daily News    535,059
  7. New York Post    525,004
  8. San Jose Mercury News / Contra Costa Times / Oakland Tribune  516,701
  9. Chicago Tribune    516,032
  10. Houston Chronicle    494,131
  11. Arizona Republic    433,731
  12. Philadelphia Inquirer / Philadelphia Daily News    356,189
  13. Newsday    334,809
  14. Denver Post    333,675
  15. Star Tribune    295,438
  16. St. Petersburg Times    278,888
  17. Chicago Sun-Times    268,803
  18. The Plain Dealer    267,888
  19. The Oregonian    263,600
  20. The Seattle Times    263,468
  21. Dallas Morning News    260,659
  22. Detroit Free Press    252,017
  23. San Diego Union-Tribune    249,630
  24. San Francisco Chronicle    241,330
  25. The Star-Ledger    236,017

With all the talk of newspapers dying the past couple of years, you have to admit the circulation numbers are pretty impressive. Will that reach translate to the Web? Does offline popularity translate online? We’ll find out over the course of the next couple of posts (my next post will focus on the top 25 newspapers by website traffic).

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.


  1. Interesting question – of course titles behind an online paywall such as the WSJ will have relatively modest web stats compared to their print circulations. A quick glance at the other titles seems to show a fairly weak correlation between print circulation & online popularity. Regardless on online popularity, most titles seem to be struggling with how to make online traffic pay its way. News Corp has started putting paywalls up around their leading titles – WSJ and The Times and News of the World in the UK having decided that winning the online game more about quality (i.e. willing to pay) than quantity of visitors. Will follow your subsequent posts with interest.

    • Great point on the paywall thing – that goes beyond my level of knowledge on the limitations of software like Compete (maybe Matt will shed some light on traffic numbers in front or behind a paywall). Compete data is an estimate, but it’s still interesting to see that comparison between online/offline. My post breaking out web visitors is next.

  2. What’s the source of your data for unique monthly and yearly visitors to the Top papers? I’d be interested in comparing them to Nielsen’s measurements.

    • Hi Matt, thanks for swinging by. The source is Compete (I wish I could have got my hands on the Nielsen numbers). I would love to see how the Nielsen uniques vary (and happy to add them to the spreadsheet). Thanks!

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