The News of the World and giving readers what they want

No, not a trailer for your super soaraway Lib Dem Voice on Sunday, but a quick quirk-alert on reader figures at our site this week.

It’s one of my jobs at Lib Dem Voice to keep an eye on the stats, including visitor numbers, popular posts, search terms and lots of other data.

These give us blogging ideas, help us to plan (and sometimes crow), and are another strand of audience feedback – alongside the comments threads, survey responses, emails and phonecalls, and of course the articles themselves that people submit.

So I thought I’d briefly share a surprising finding from my latest analysis of the reader figures at LDV:

The busiest days for a political website are always the day after an election. That’s the same for political party sites, whether local or national, and it’s certainly true for Lib Dem Voice.

In “peacetime” our visitor numbers ebb and flow throughout the week, and predicting this helps us to schedule posts appropriately.

On Fridays, visitor numbers normally taper off slightly, but yesterday they spiked.

I’ve rechecked the stats: the only other examples of this site’s hits increasing at all on a Friday have been the day after the 2010 General Election, the local elections and referendum in May, and the day after Westminster by-elections such as Oldham East & Saddleworth, Barnsley Central, and (modestly) after Inverclyde last week. The morning after the election night before, readers come to find out the results and comment on them.

Earlier today, Lib Dem blogger Mark Thompson mused on Twitter:

I’m starting to wonder if the fallout from #notw scandal could be more momentous for political culture in the UK than most general elections

Now on Thursday of course, the biggest news wasn’t an election, but the announcement that the News of the World is to close. This announcement, and the public interest in it, has big implications for politics, journalism and business.

So are this week’s revelations and fallout the Press’s equivalent of the MPs’ expenses scandal?

And will the reading (and blogging) public, who have long seen democracy in a headlock from certain media outlets, look back on this week as a turning point?

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This entry was posted in Op-eds.
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8 Comments

  • David Pollard 10th Jul '11 - 8:19am

    You bet its the most important political development in 30 years. My recurring nightmare is that the Murdoch press will give its backing to the LibDems at the next general election. Then we will really be in trouble!

  • I’m afraid I’m a bit cynical about the long-term importance of this. The British public has a very short attention span, and will be sick of this story by the middle of next week; lengthy public and judicial enquiries will ensure that the boredom factor is hammered home, with a short spike of outrage when the inevitable whitewash is finally announced at the end of the proceedings. Meanwhile Murdoch has massive resources, a lot of skill and cunning, knows where the bodies are buried, and he will have done whatever is necessary to maintain his stranglehold on our media.

  • With Murdoch and the BSkyB bid, there is a massive opportunity for the Liberal Democrats to do the right thing, show their courage and independence in preventing the takeover of BSkyB. It will also evidence and demonstrate that the Liberal Democrats can behave in a non partisan way and that the party has real backbone.

  • Keith Browning 10th Jul '11 - 8:54am

    John Yates now admitting that there was an ‘industrial scale’ cover-up. Seeing the way News Corp is controlled from the top this must mean the Murdochs and their ginger haired employee are involved.

    The LibDems still seem to be sitting on the fence. Perhaps they believe this is going to combust without need for their involvement. This week is going to be more than interesting.

    Maybe this Christmas Cameron will be visiting all his close friends on Dartmoor or other suitable high security establishment.

  • The thing that could be really significant is the opportunity to improve civil liberties out of this. The party should not allow this opportunity to slip through their fingers.

    The suggestion that police information is available to jounalists who make payments shows why it is important that they and all other public authorities should only have the minimum amount of our information that they need to function.

    The party should start by refusing to give the police any personal information about our conference attenders. A database of the details of political activists could be worth a lot of money to someone.

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