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News 2006

Election Drives Traffic Surge to News Sites
Local Election Coverage by Daily Newspapers Serves Growing Online Audiences

Tampa, Fla. – November 9, 2006 – A thirst for local election news drove increased traffic to media sites operated by daily newspapers this week. Statistics from SAXOTECH, provider of Web publishing platforms, hosting services and software solutions for more than 450 media companies, showed significant increases in election-related traffic and queries.

Traditional news organizations that have transitioned their content distribution models to publish for the Web first – while maintaining strong daily print news products – gained the most online traffic with this week’s local and national election coverage. Overall, local election coverage on sites hosted by SAXOTECH drove average daily unique visitors to new record highs, with some news sites seeing more than 120 percent increases over the prior month’s daily averages.

“The dramatic spike in traffic to local news sites demonstrates how important the Internet was in following this mid-term election where the focus was on congressional races,” said Paul Harris, vice president of corporate marketing at SAXOTECH.

Highlights of the 2006 mid-term election coverage include:

Concord Monitor (Concord, N.H.)
Traffic nearly doubled on The Concord Monitor’s Web site during the height of the elections, where the new media team produced an interactive Elections 2006 portal dubbed the “Primary Monitor.” Editorial staff posted both news and opinion updates throughout the day. The new media team described their Web publishing approach as “event-parting,” borrowing from the media term “day-parting” which describes the posting of new content throughout the day on a scheduled basis.

“As news broke, we went live with analysis and opinion, including reader-submitted content. The site was constantly updated,” said Margo Bowie, new media director at the Monitor. The surge of traffic to the Monitor’s online site started on Sunday, November 4 with a 97 percent increase in the number of unique visitors on election day, and more than 82 percent increase in traffic on Wednesday.

The Telegraph (Nashua, N.H.)
This year, The Telegraph focused its election coverage on convergence and audience-participation. Digital media brought readers into the story by allowing online visitors to ask questions, via forums, to candidates in major races. The staff then posed the readers' questions to the candidates during editorial board interviews -- which were videotaped and featured on the Web site, embedded within each story about the candidates.

In the run-up to the election, The Telegraph produced a print election guide with information collected from candidates via the Web site. The candidates' responses to the questionnaire were proofed within the Web content management system and immediately published to the site. Later they were exported for use in the print guide.

“And on election day, reporters in the field, armed with laptops, sent in constant updates for The Telegraph election blog, which was featured on the homepage and on our voter guide page, closing a vibrant circuit of election Web coverage with readers, candidates and journalists creating together a unique digital media portrait of a state in the midst of dramatic political change,” said Ernesto Burden, digital media manager at The Telegraph.

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