Christine Daniels a bonus for web traffic

The most-viewed story on the Los Angeles Times website in 2007 was nothing the paper's reporters covered or exposed or explained. It was sports columnist Mike Penner's last byline — his coming out as Christine Daniels — a story the print paper tried to bury. Could these stats be an omen for the future of journalism in L.A.? Of the paper's ten most-viewed stories, none were dispatches from the foreign staff and the only two local stories were about Paris Hilton going to jail. The rest were national stories, an Ann Powers critic's notebook on Kelly Clarkson and Clive Davis, and Geoff Boucher's January news that Rage Against the Machine would reunite at Coachella. Top story by section at

Meanwhile, the website's Executive Editor, Meredith Artley, lists the top trends and blogs in her first memo of 2008. This will be the year of "local, local, local," she says, starting with the news blog that LAO's Veronique de Turenne will launch for the Times city desk later this month. Artley's memo follows:

From: Artley, Meredith
Sent: Wednesday, January 09, 2008 4:42 PM
To: zzAll LATimes Employees
Subject: Big Web Picture


Welcome to this special edition of the Big Web Picture.

We had 74.9 million page views in December 2007; that's up almost 18% from December '06.

For 2007, we averaged 75 million page views a month. That's a 26% increase over 2006, when the average was 59 million.

The total for the year was 901 million page views. In 2006 we had 714 million, an increase of 26%.

As of this morning, the entertainment section has a crisp new design, new features and functionality. We hope you'll notice that it's better organized and much easier to access our great journalism by area of interest - movies, television, music, reviews, etc. Popular blogs, photos and videos are better integrated. This redesign introduces A-Z pages to the site. Each page combines recent news from us and around the Web, articles from our vast archive, great photos and multimedia. Here's one example. The A-Z pages are efficient to create and maintain and should be great for our Google rankings, too.

The Top of the Ticket blog is another recent highlight, breaking an all-time record for a singular blog. Andy Malcolm and Don Frederick are filing unique posts that get attention from our readers, Google and Drudge, such as:

Hillary Clinton's don't ask policy

Edwards' Iowa Express bus breaks down

Ron Paul supporters: Do NOT read this

Just in time for primary season, we launched e-mail alerts on the night of the Iowa caucuses. Sign up here.

In the works for the coming month or so:

* Local, local, local: A local breaking news blog will be created to offer readers a one-stop destination to find out what's happening right now in and around Los Angeles.
* Now that we have A-Z pages in entertainment, we'll be expanding them throughout the site. The Campaign '08 section is next up. Health, Business, Sports and Autos... we're coming after you next.
* Ongoing, finishing beta updates of The Guide.
* Phase 1 of a seriously improved site search (yes!) using Google as the backbone.
* Niceties such as a campaign '08 email newsletter, design/navigation changes to health, opinion, and a video landing page.

Top articles for December - notice how this list is heavy on local news and politics:

1. New details of tiger attack released (Charles Piller and Tim Reiterman)

2. Death in a seaside paradise (Joel Sappell)

3. Body is found in L.A. tow yard a day after car accident (Kenneth R. Weiss)

4. Drugs to build up that mental muscle (Karen Kaplan and Denise Gellene)

5. Air of inevitability escaping Clinton (Peter Nicholas)

6. Huckabee campaigning for 23% sales tax (Janet Hook)

7. A nursing home death, and a shocking phone call (Scott Glover)

8. Foot soldiers for the Ron Paul revolution (James Rainey)

9. Jamie Lynn Spears is not the first teen to have a baby (Robert Lloyd)

10. Fury in New Orleans as housing demolition OKd (Jenny Jarvie)

Top slide shows for December:

1. Celebrity and Sports Collide in L.A.

2. The assassination of Benazir Bhutto

3. 2007 Best & Worst: Viral videos

4. Celebrity shots

5. 2007 Best & Worst: Online movie gimmicks

6. Sons of privilege

7. Benazir Bhutto | 1953-2007

8. Notable deaths

9. 2007 Best & Worst: Comebacks (entertainment)

10. 2007 Best & Worst: Red carpet fashion

Top blogs for December:

1. Top of the Ticket - 1,022,229 PVs (new single-blog traffic record)

2. Lakers - 423,464 PVs

3. Homicide Report - 247,611 PVs

4. Show Tracker

5. Envelope: Gold Derby

6. Envelope: Dish Rag

7. Travel: Daily Deal

8. Daily Dish

9. L.A. Land

10. What's Bruin

Top video for December:

1. Tiger kills man in San Francisco - AP

2. S.F. tiger attack leaves 1 dead - AP

3. Missing family alive after 3 days in wilderness - KTLA

4. New Orleans police subdue housing - AP

5. Surveillance photos show mall - AP

6. Zoo may face lawsuits after tiger - AP

7. "The Proof," by Barzolff814 - Video provided to LAT

8. USC pep rally - Adam Rose/LAT

9. 1 dead in Hollywood car crash - AP

10. 27 Years Later - Led Zeppelin - AP

But wait! There's more. Here are the results for the year...

Top articles for 2007:

We put the whole list in our best of 2007 package, along with top five articles by section:

Top slide shows for all of 2007:

1. Entertainment: Celebrity shots

2. Your Scene/Reader photos: Southern California fires

3. Entertainment: Blackwell's worst dressed

4. Magazine: Cory Kennedy

5. SoCal fires, Day 3

6. Griffith Park fire

7. SoCal fires, Day 4

8. Celebrity and sports collide in L.A.

9. SoCal fires, Day 2

10. SoCal fires, Day 1

2007 was a great year for blogs. Traffic went from 8.8 million page views in 2006 to 26.3 million page views in 2007. Also, the very popular Your Scene received 27.4 million page views for the year.

Top blogs for all of 2007:

1. Lakers - 4,406,013 PVs

2. Show Tracker - 2,543,273 PVs

3. Homicide Report - 2,249,326 PVs

4. Top of the Ticket

5. Envelope: Gold Derby

6. Envelope: Dish Rag/Styles & Scenes

7. Local politics: Political Muscle (last post May 31)

8. L.A. Land

9. Movable Buffet/Vegas

10. Breaking News blog (used during fire coverage)

Top video for 2007:

1. "The Proof," by Barzolff814 (with David Sarno's article) - Video provided to LAT

2. KTLA live video streams (includes fires) - KTLA

3. Kathy Hilton says Paris is "very scared" - AP

4. Paris Hilton Leaving House in Sheriff's Squad Car to Courthouse - KTLA

5. Death toll rises at Virginia Tech - CNN

6. Dozens of rats frolic at KFC-Taco Bell - AP

7. Mayor admits to extramarital affair - KTLA

8. Throttle Jockey: The Electric Superbike - LAT

9. World's Largest Passenger - KTLA

10. Kobe's Latest Demands - KTLA

I've mentioned some of the overall highlights of 2007 (live blogging, visual journalism and more) and top priorities for 2008 (local, newsletters/mobile, entertainment and more) on the Newsroom 2.0 blog:

Thanks for reading, for all the support in 2007, and cheers to bigger successes in 2008.

Meredith Artley
Executive Editor,

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