The paper has exploited the grief of Jacqui Janes over her son Jamie’s death in Afghanistan to attack the PM – because his handwritten letter of condolence was supposedly disrespectful due to sloppy writing and (disputed) spelling errors.
It’s loathsome journalism that ignores the effect of his disability (the PM is blind in one eye).
And it seems Sun readers are mostly on the Prime Minister’s side.
Of the 100+ comments on the story (don’t worry, I’ve nofollowed those links) when I checked, 111 expressed a view for or against Jacqui Janes or Gordon Brown (the rest commented on other issues or corrected people’s spelling errors). Of these:
42 were anti Gordon or pro the Sun’s stance.
69 were pro Gordon or anti the Sun’s stance.
So that’s more than 60% who don’t agree with the Sun, and less than 40% who do.
Sample comments from those who agree with the Sun’s stance
Some comments from those opposing it
The Sun is channeling this woman’s grief into a personal attack on the Prime Minister.
It’s refusing to make allowances for his disability (maybe we could next attack the war wounded for being workshy benefit scroungers?).
And it’s facilitating her breaking data protection laws by releasing a recording of a private phone call.
These 130 accounts had 1,801,811 followers on November 2nd, up by 137,568 from 1,664,243 on October 1. Of that increase, 95,007 (or 69%) was for the @guardiantech account (which benefits from being on Twitter’s suggested user list).
(NB the Telegraph has renamed its @TelegraphScienc account, so this month I’ve restated October’s figures to be for 130 accounts – I thought it had deleted it when I downloaded the latest figures.).
The biggest mover was @MirrorFootball, up 11 places to 81st (from 455 to 809 followers), suggesting the Mirror is finally making some use of Twitter (most of its other accounts are near the bottom – and only appear to have moved up a place due to the demise of the Telegraph’s Science account).
The rate of growth has slowed, however. This is a monthly increase of 13.1%, compared with 17% from August 1 to September 1, and also from July 1 to August 1.
What’s more, 151,555 of the increase (or 78% of the total) is down to just one account – that of @guardiantech (which owes its popularity to its place on the Twitter Suggested User List). Indeed, of the 131 accounts I’m tracking, 51 have fewer followers than me (@malcolmcoles)!
The UK media have learned nothing from the debacle over the MMR vaccine – where they relentlessly covered stories doubting the safety of MMR, putting the lives of children at risk (this is cross-posted from my blog).
They are continuing their habit of undermining public-health initiatives with their latest scare story about the safety of the cervical cancer jab, after the tragic death of a schoolgirl who had the vaccine the same day.
I’ve given each of the mainstream media an irresponsibility rating below – the Mail and Express are the worst scaremongers, followed by the Mirror and Times.
It’s calculated as follows:
A headline suggesting a causal link between the vaccine and the girl’s death – there is no evidence of this so far, the two events just occurred on the same day: 20 points
The use of a photo or words in the headline casting doubt on the safety of the vaccine itself (as opposed to, say, this being a one-off allergic reaction): 20 points
Calls for the vaccine to be banned: 20 points
No mention of how many lives the vaccine will save: 20 points.
Separate comment piece doubting the safety of the vaccine, or emphasis of other stories about vaccine problems: 10 points
Ill-informed user comments adding to the suggestion of unsafety. 10 points
The headline suggests a causal link. It makes claims of a ‘rogue batch’ in quotes where the only use of those words in the story are the journalist’s own.
It’s running a poll: “Should the cervical cancer vaccination be suspended”.
There are a lot of figures about side effects – no mention of actual lives saved.
The best rated comment is currently “Chemical experiments on our children.” The worst rated is “Many more deaths may occur without the vaccine to guard against HPV.” The comments section is appalling, frankly – full of ill-informed anti-vaccine scaremongering.
When news breaks, if you want to do well in Google for relevant searches, publish early, publish often and put your keywords at the front.
From an SEO point of view, the more stories you can pump out targeting different (or even the same) keywords, the more chance you have of appearing at the top of Google’s search results – and scooping up the traffic.
Get it right, and you can appear twice in the web results – and twice in the news results that Google often shows above them for breaking-news-related searches.
The Guardian published 15 stories today (Tuesday 15th), all available from its existing Patrick Swayze tag page. Do we really need 15 stories on this?!? About half had a title that began with ‘Patrick Swayze’.
The Telegraph published 10 pages, and while it doesn’t have as many tag pages as the Guardian, it did feature one of its two obituaries (here and here) as a link from its ‘hot topics’ list on its home page, giving it a boost in Google’s web-result rankings. The screenshot, below, shows that it may have run out of ideas to get to 10 pages – the two bottom ones shown are very similar. Also, nine out of 10 of these stories have a title beginning with ‘Patrick Swayze’. The other is just called ‘Dirty Dancing – time of your life’. Now that is front-loading keywords.
The Mirror pumped out 5 pages today, and also set up a tag page at some point during the day (they didn’t have one before lunch), hoping to target the searches for ‘patrick swayze’ (yes, they forgot to capitalise it in their haste to set it up). The titles of all 5 begin with ‘Patrick Swazye’.
The Independent published 4 pages.
The Times managed just 3 pages – maybe with a paywall coming they are less interested in SEO these days ..
The papers weren’t all that successful in their SEO efforts.
US sites dominated Google’s results for a search on ‘Patrick Swayze’ and ‘Patrick Swayze death’. The Telegraph did though take the top two web search spots for a search on ‘Patrick Swayze obituary’.
Keith Floyd has also died – and it was a similar story in terms of volume of stories. The Telegraph, for instance, has published 8 stories and the Guardian, via its tag page, published 9. The Guardian pipped the Telegraph to win the results for a search on ‘Keith Floyd obituary’.
The bounce rate is the percentage of visits that consisted of just one page (so a low number is good).
These figures are 3-month averages. These change on a daily basis at Alexa – so they may have altered slightly by the time you check. Click the papers’ names to see the current data.
The overall average at the bottom is a simple average – it has not been weighted by traffic.
Page views vs bounce rate
The table is ranked by daily page views per user. The bounce rate is another measure of stickiness. It doesn’t exactly correlate with page views, as papers may have differing proportions of loyal, engaged users who visit lots of pages. The more pages that these users visit, the better the page view figure – but they won’t affect the bounce rate.
The Telegraph has a worse bounce rate than the sites near it in the table, perhaps because the great success with its Digg tool doesn’t always lead to multi-page visits?
Using Alexa data
There are issues with using Alexa data like this as it underrepresents UK users, who may have differing usage patterns to other visitors. However, as it seems to underrepresent them more or less equally, the rankings should be OK even if the absolute figures are all out by the same margin.
The latest figures for UK users from the audited ABCes together with Compete‘s figures for American site usage show how USA traffic is vital for UK newspaper sites (figures originally posted here).
On average, US traffic is 36.8% of the UK traffic (ie there is just over one US visitor for every 3 UK visitors). The figure for the Telegraph is slightly higher (44.5%) and for the Mail it’s a massive 62.5%.