Howard Kurtz, the media critic for the Washington Post, is telling the same old story again.
Last week, he revisited the subject of the unfulfilled expectations of the “online media.”
To Kurtz, like most of his colleagues in the establishment press, online media means Salon.com and Slate.com — two well-financed sites that have much in common, in their approach to reporting news, with the Washington Post, New York Times and the old, pre-online media.
Kurtz recalled the now time-worn story of how Salon and Slate were launched with plenty of money and plenty of hype. But Salon’s public stock, which had traded at a high of $14.25 is now selling (if anyone is buying) at 75 cents. And Slate, Kurtz writes, “barely registers in the buzz department.”
Kurtz recounted the demise of APBNews.com, Voter.com and other news-oriented sites as well as the layoffs at CNN.com and the New York Times online service.
“No wonder,” he says, “critics are pronouncing last rites for content sites.”
You will note, once again, the establishment press has failed to recognize the newssite model that actually poses a long-term threat to the media status quo — one that provides a real content alternative.
Kurtz mentioned sites I have never heard of. He mentioned sites that seem happy about attracting 5,000 readers a day. He even mentioned the Wall Street Journal’s editorial page and the National Review sites. But he didn’t mention WorldNetDaily.com.
Yet, by whatever standard you choose to measure newssites, WorldNetDaily.com is a leader:
- It’s No. 1 in “stickiness” or time spent per user — week after week, month after month. I keep reading industry trade stories about how stickiness is the real criterion of success on the Internet. Still, nobody bothers to look at which sites have achieved it.
- It’s the No. 1 “most popular website in the world,” according to the Global 100 charts — not for five weeks, 10 weeks, 30 weeks or 52 weeks, but for 87 weeks! Hello?
- Without anything remotely resembling the financial resources of Salon and Slate, WorldNetDaily has matched or exceeded their numbers of unique visitors (between 1.5 million and 2 million) and pageviews (30 million to 40 million a month). Only a handful of major news organizations — MSNBC, CNN, ABC, New York Times, USA Today, etc. — best WorldNetDaily in these categories.
And, best of all, WorldNetDaily is not going broke. WorldNetDaily is not content simply spending investor capital endlessly. WorldNetDaily is operating essentially on its own expanding revenues. WorldNetDaily is not a get-rich-quick stock market scheme — it is a real business that operates in the real world of balance sheets rather than in the phony world of cyberspace economics.
“Salon has launched a radio show,” announces Kurtz. Wow. Well, I’m glad he told me because I never heard of it. Meanwhile, WorldNetDaily has hosted radio shows for most of the last four years and currently produces the Geoff Metcalf program live three hours a day — one of the most listened-to shows on the Internet and also broadcast in two major markets.
It’s enough to make me feel like Rodney Dangerfield, sometimes. But, then I realize the respect will come with success. Inevitably that will be the true test.
The reason I’m confident in long-term success is that WorldNetDaily is truly different. It offers something none of the other online media outlets do — hard-hitting, professional, investigative reporting into government corruption, fraud, waste and abuse. That’s been our stock in trade since May 1997 when we launched. That’s what sets us apart. That’s what makes us a viable alternative to the establishment press — online or off.
Am I frustrated that Howard Kurtz isn’t writing about WorldNetDaily? Not really. I’ve been there. Done that. I know that Kurtz and his pals at the Washington Post would never have a good word to say about this endeavor. I’m proud of that. But it is amazing to me how these so-called recorders of “the first draft of history” are still completely missing a revolutionary movement in Internet journalism.
Maybe it’s just as well. They’d only get it wrong, anyway.