Are these the ten most popular journalism bloggers in America?

Inspired by Martin Belam’s extensive charts of popular RSS feeds, and Adrian Monck’s list of popular UK journalism bloggers, I’ve grabbed the baton and produced a chart of the top ten American journo-bloggers, based on combined subscriptions via Google Reader and Bloglines:

  1. BuzzMachine (Jeff Jarvis) – 2621
  2. PressThink (Jay Rosen) – 1670*
  3. Social Media (JD Lasica) – 1642
  4. Adrian Holovaty – 1257
  5. Dan Gillmor – 1112
  6. Teaching Online Journalism (Mindy McAdams) – 668
  7. First Draft by Tim Porter – 461
  8. Journerdism (Will Sullivan) – 299
  9. Rob Curley – 268
  10. Steve Yelvington – 256

Not included are Susan Mernit (712), or the various Poynter, OJR and Cyberjournalist sites, which are set up as news services more than blogs.

Now I’m sure that in my transatlantic ignorance I’ve missed some major American journo-bloggers, so I’m trusting that you’ll let me know any glaring omissions.

In the meantime: some comparisons with Monck’s list. Whereas the UK bloggers features two academics, the US list has three, with two occupying the top spots. The US bloggers are also more ‘strategic’, if that makes sense: most are involved in consultancy, founding companies or experimenting with technology. Perhaps this says something about the American news industry.

If you merge the American list with those on Monck’s for an Anglo-American chart, Roy Greenslade comes in 8th with 335 combined subscribers and the Online Journalism Blog comes tenth with 284, which bodes well for British bloggers.

Excuse me while I pull my head out of my backside…


Some observations:

  • Subscriptions does not obviously equal readership – the majority of my readers come via links and searches; I suspect the same is true of most bloggers, while a blogger who writes as part of a newspaper is likely to attract more passing traffic.
  • It is likely that some of these subscriptions are never checked – Dan Gillmor’s defunct blog still has over 700 subscribers, for instance.
  • It is likely there is some duplication – who else has exported subscriptions across both Google and Bloglines? – although it’s also likely that the duplication is similar across all blogs.
  • Equally, there are some significant differences between the two: on Bloglines alone, JD Lasica comes top, while Jay Rosen drops to 5th. Does this say something about the type of subscriber? Would Bloglines subs be early adopters? Might advertisers start to look at subs through different feed readers in the same way as different markets?
  • Google Reader and Bloglines are only two of many, many RSS readers.
  • Other RSS readers may be more popular in other countries. Brazil’s Andre Deak and France’s Philip Couve, for example, barely register double figures on Google Reader, but clearly have significant readerships.

So, the next steps:

Q: Which American journo-bloggers have been overlooked?

Q: And who are the major j-bloggers outside America and Britain?

*Update: Romenesko would make second place with 2,169 subs if included. Given it was a standalone blog before it was brought into the Poynter fold, should it be? (thanks to Aron Pilhofer)

*Update 2: Mark Glaser’s Mediashift would be just behind Romenesko with 2,130 subs (thanks to Lorenz Lorenz-Meyer).


23 thoughts on “Are these the ten most popular journalism bloggers in America?

  1. Mindy McAdams

    I like the list and find it pretty unsurprising. (Glad to see I’m on it, of course.) One question is: How did you count the subscriptions? I ask because a quick look at Feedburner tells me that on Sunday I had 797 subscribers via Google and Bloglines — this of course varies from day to day. So don’t recheck your figures, but tell us when and where you compiled your figures, please.

    I’m a bit surprised Ryan Sholin isn’t on the list.

  2. Aron Pilhofer

    Yeah, I’m not too sure this methodology quite works. Adrian, for example, may have tons of subscribers, but his last update was late August. And his interests range well beyond journalism, as you’ll see if you check out his blog. Plus, any list that doesn’t include Romenesko is problematic. Dunno what you mean by “service” versus blogger (does one have to express opinion to be accepted into the blogger world?), but by my definition he certainly qualifies. Otherwise, the list looks pretty good.

  3. Paul Bradshaw

    I used Bloglines and Google Reader to see how many subscribers people had. In some cases I had to count across multiple feeds for the same blog.
    And yes, I should point out that the figures may be a week or two old.
    Ryan Sholin comes in with 145 or so subs.

  4. paulbradshaw Post author

    Innovations in Newspapers has 238 combined subs, so just misses out, surprisingly. As a side note, it’s not clear who’s behind that blog – is it one person or many?

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  6. Paul Bradshaw

    Howard Owens has 119
    also on the fringe:
    Journalistopia: 219
    Mike Butcher (mbites), UK, 215
    Shane Richmond, UK, 188
    Amy Gahran: 179
    Vincent Maher (south Africa): 153
    Bob Stepno: 143
    Leonard Witt: 131
    Steve Outing: 108

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  11. Jay Rosen

    Hi Paul and people. A few thoughts. I definitely consider Romenesko the top journalism blog, and it is a major source of traffic and buzz for PressThink.

    Mark Glaser’s Media Shift is outstanding–a reported media trends blog–and should be high on your list. That would be drop me to four in the way you have calculated it, I believe. (Fine by me…)

    Media Shift is a PBS blog, part of that news organization’s larger and multi-stream domain. Romenesko is part of Poynter, a larger domain with many subscribers to many “products.” Both had substantial user bases before that, so it could be said they merged with their current sites.

    If you consider merger into larger publishing and news domains one complication when you’re looking at subscribers, another would be bloggers who have more than one site, or stream for their work. Romenesko has his Obscure Store and Starbucks gossip sites.
    Jarvis started Prezvid and there’s NewAssignment.Net and that spun off from PressThink. If you asked how many subscribers Jarvis has, I would say he has the subscribers to Buzzmachine, his main blog, plus PrezVid. But if you are looking at press blogs, not bloggers, then the count you did is more valid. How many subscribers does Josh Marshall have? Well, it would be all the subscribers to Talking Points Memo, plus TMP Muckraker, plus TPM Election Central.

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