Big traffic gains at

Traffic was up an average of 83% over last year, with local readership up 54% and overall page views up 47%, says the year-end memo from executive editor Meredith Artley. Look for in 2009 a redesign of the site and of L.A. Now, Sports and Business online, new pages to aggregate links from other websites and blogs, and more. Memo with the top stories and blog traffic for December — The Dish Rag led the blogs — and stats for the year follows after the jump.

Colleagues: In terms of growing readership, 2008 was a great year for Our audience grew 83% on average this year over last (many months the number of people coming to our site was more than double that of 2007). Our local readership grew 54% in 2008, and our page views jumped 47%.

For December, we had 120 million page views - about a 50% increase from last December - and just short of 20 million unique users, up more than 80% year-over-year. Those aren't record breakers, and we anticipated a quiet end to the year due to the holidays and a slower flow of big news for most of the month.

Some of you may have seen our press release (or the piece on Editor & Publisher ) about the November Nielsen rankings - we were ranked as the No. 2 newspaper site in the U.S. in terms of unique users, edging out and for the first time.

To see the top stories, posts, photo galleries, search terms and videos for 2008, visit the year-end package at .

We have a very active calendar heading into 2009. In the coming weeks, look for a redesigned L.A. Now blog, underlining our continued focus on local breaking news, showcasing the talents of our metro team and folding in work from some of our colleagues at KTLA. We'll launch redesigns for the Sports and Business sections. A local crime database is in development. "Best of the Web" pages will launch for specific topics in Sports, Food, Travel and elsewhere - this will be a first step of a big aggregation push for 2009, the idea being is that we can provide a great service to our readers by editing not just ourselves but the Web at large. And we kick off the site redesign project this month -- one of the biggest projects for 2009.

Most-viewed articles for December:

1. In Utah, the Parowan Prophet predicts disaster will prevent Obama from taking office (By Peter H. King)

2. Gunman's careful plans went awry (By Tami Abdollah, Ari B. Bloomekatz and Hector Becerra)

3. San Diego man mourns loss of family, forgives Marine pilot in jet crash (By Richard Marosi and Tony Perry)

4. TACA passengers in a fog after 9-hour flight diversion (By James Wagner)

5. Pinup queen Bettie Page dies at 85 (By Louis Sahagun)

6. Simpson, appearing contrite, is sentenced up to 33 years in prison (By Ashley Powers and Harriet Ryan)

7. 23 seconds of the Mexican drug war (By Sam Quinones)

8. How Jewish is Hollywood? (By Joel Stein)

9. A life thrown into turmoil by $100 donation for Prop. 8 (By Steve Lopez)

10. Samantha Ronson, the Web and suits to spare (By Harriet Ryan)

Top blogs for December:

1. The Dish Rag - 1,523,692 PVs

2. L.A. Now - 1,144,569

3. Top of the Ticket - 824,938

4. Fabulous Forum - 543,576

5. Technology - 429,999

6. Show Tracker

7. Lakers

8. Pop & Hiss

9. Hero Complex

10. Gold Derby

11. Entertainment News & Buzz

12. Daily Travel & Deal Blog

13. Culture Monster

14. L.A. Land

15. The Big Picture

16. L.A. Unleashed

17. The Daily Mirror

18. Varsity Times Insider

19. Money & Co.

20. Idoltracker (new blog launched in late December)

Total traffic across all blogs: 9,590,685 PVs (last December, blog traffic had an all-time record with 3,475,581 PVs)

Top blogs for all of 2008:

1. Top of the Ticket - 26,095,702 PVs

2. Dish Rag - 13,830,045

3. Show Tracker - 7,621,175

4. L.A. Land

5. Lakers

6. L.A. Now

7. Gold Derby

8. Daily Travel & Deal Blog

9. Web Scout

10. Homicide Report

Total across all blogs for 2008: 123,046,865 PVs (that's up from 26,258,669 in '07 and 8,805,303 in '06).

Lindsay Barnett notes that in 2008, the Top of the Ticket had almost as many PVs as all blogs did in 2007.

Most-viewed photo galleries for December:

1. Associated Press 2008 moments

2. Storm leaves a blanket of snow across Southland

3. Readers' picks: Overrated destinations of the world

4. Man in Santa suit found dead after opening fire at party

5. Notable deaths

6. F/A-18 crashes in San Diego

7. The stony faces of Keanu Reeves

8. Celebrity and sports collide in L.A.

9. 13 upcoming remakes of Hollywood sci-fi classics

10. The best houses of all time in L.A.

Top videos for December:

1. Surveillance video, Monterrey jewelry store shooting - 140,483 (LAT)

2. Iraqi journalist throws shoe at George Bush - 52,087 (AP)

3. Everyone Deserves a Roof (EDAR) helps house the homeless - 33,202 (LAT)

4. President able to duck pair of shoes (AP)

5. Military jet crashes into San Diego neighborhood (KTLA)

6. Man who lost family in jet crash speaks (KTLA)

7. Surfing: Billabong XXL Mavericks Global Big Wave Awards Thanksgiving weekend 2009 (video provided by Billabong)

8. Freeway shooting leaves driver in critical condition (KTLA)

9. Passengers stuck on plane for 9 hours (KTLA)

10. Police learning more about 'Santa' shooter (AP)

That's it. Thanks and congratulations everyone for the incredible effort in 2008. The dramatic increase in readership - making us the fastest growing major newspaper site in the country according to those Nielsen stats -- is a direct testament to smart work in every single department. We have much more growing to do, and more great things to come in 2009.

Meredith Artley
Executive Editor,

More by Kevin Roderick:
Standing up to Harvey Weinstein
The Media
LA Times gets a top editor with nothing but questions
LA Observed Notes: Harvey Weinstein stripped bare
LA Observed Notes: Photos of the homeless, photos that found homes
Recent LAT stories on LA Observed:
LA Times gets a top editor with nothing but questions
LA Observed Notes: Harvey Weinstein stripped bare
Why the LA Times' new theater column needs a new name
Helping in Houston, new lion cubs, Garcetti's back
Memo: New LA Times publisher drops web widget
Warren Olney leaving KCRW's radio lineup
LA Times purge 'capped a month of newsroom turmoil'
As the L.A. Times turns ...


LA Observed on Twitter