L.A. Times Endorses Linkbait With Transsexual Sportswriter

The mainstream media is chasing social media hard and embracing linkbaiting with gusto! A major newspaper is bending over backwards to get their content featured on the drudgereport.com

This is the title of the article that appeared on the LA Times FRONT PAGE on August 4, 2007:

Hot links served up daily

So the MSM really wants a piece of the online action.

Here is the title that started everything:

Overwhelmingly, they arrived after spotting this titillating link on a news site called the Drudge Report: “L.A. Times Shock: ‘I am a Transsexual Sportswriter.’ “

Hard not to click on that one.

And they reveal how much traffic this linkbait brought in:

By day’s end, the link to the column accounted for nearly 25% of visits to latimes.com

It goes on to describe Journalist’s lusting after Mr. Drudge:

Every day, journalists and media executives in newsrooms across the land hope they’ll have something that catches Drudge’s fancy … most keep their fingers crossed that he’ll discover their articles on his own and link to them.

And you thought Digg was powerful:

Drudge’s following is so large and loyal that he routinely can drive hundreds of thousands of readers to a single story, photo or video through a link on his lively compendium of the news.

Even the color of Drudge’s hat is exposed:

there’s a lot of irony that Matt Drudge was a black-hat villain, and now a lot of those same journalists realize that getting a link on his website is crucial to their stories getting wider attention… That’s the way the Web works. We’re all trying to make sure our journalism is discovered.

Another revelation, our society reflected in our news consumption, again printed on the front page:

Gossip has become so much a part of journalism that what he does doesn’t stand out.

The idea is to get reporters, who might throw away a self-serving network publicity release, to chase the item on the Drudge Report because it has “more of a news aura” … Some journalists, the executive said, might write the story simply to avoid getting beaten by someone else.

Comparing the traffic of Drudge and major newspaper websites:

the Drudge Report received 3 million unique visits in June, with visitors spending an average of 1 hour and 6 minutes on the site… visitors return an average of 20 times a month. Most newspaper websites would be fortunate to draw a quarter as many return visits.

This directly affects online newspapers profits:

links from Drudge skew readership numbers — up one day, down the next — making it difficult to determine ad rates

How well does Drudge make out:

he regularly links to a website that provides up-to-the-minute wire-service stories — a website he created to cash in on Drudge’s legions

I know Alexa is for entertainment purposes only, but Alexa users clearly favor Drudge:alexa graph drudge report vs la times

How cool is it that a multi million dollar media company is begging for recognition from a one blogger? The Drudge Report is a more in depth version of the Daily Show.

Read the full article.


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3 Responses

  1. The mainstream media has been fawning over the drudgereport.com for several years. I think journalism is a reflection of society, and clearly (most) society wants sensational, celebrity news. I don’t think anyone realizes journalism is declining.

    see a list of the top stories: celebrities dominate http://www.google.com/trends/hottrends

  2. I see this as an experiment that the LA Times undertook to see what would happen. But if mainstream media keep doing ‘acts’ like this, they’ll erode their viewers confidence even more – which, is not a bad thing in my mind – but do you think they’ll keep this practice up?

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