The Washington Post

2011 by the numbers: A memo to Post staff from Managing Editor Raju Narisetti

On Monday morning, Managing Editor Raju Narisetti sent this memo to the newsroom.


As you read in Katharine Weymouth’s year-end note to all of us, we had a record digital performance on many fronts in 2011.

Since many of have been asking, I thought I would share some additional data (see attachment) to give you a sense of how we fared online and in mobile, as we brought in and engaged a record audience to Post journalism in 2011.

Most of you know from various daily and intra-day, digital audience reports that, despite a terrific performance, the goals set for the newsroom were more ambitious in 2011 than our actual results.

Indeed, we missed some critical goals we had set for ourselves during 2011, such as growing our local web audience, by some margin. Still, our collective performance that set all-time-high records in pages read, number of readers and other key loyalty and engagement measures across is worth savoring and celebrating.

We are now in a Presidential election year where Post journalists and the journalism we produce is unparalleled in its depth, breadth and analysis. And our 2012 digital goals will reflect that core belief.

Thank you, all, for the great work in 2011 and looking forward to a successful 2012.

Happy New Year.


An attachment offered a detailed breakdown of how readers found and consumed Post content:

How our readers are finding our content:

The importance of having good metadata is underscored by a significant and ongoing shift in how readers come to our content. Amid intense competition on the web, we continue to have high loyalty with nearly 40% of our audience coming directly to Post website. But more than a quarter of all readers are now finding Post content through Search, up from 17% in 2009. This, even as third-party sites willing to send us so-called referral traffic through aggregating our content on their sites has fallen to around 31% from a high of 39% in 2009.

Top blogs as measured by number of pages read were:

1. Wonkblog (Ezra Klein and team)

2. Celebritology (Jen Chaney)

3. The Fix (Chris Cillizza and team)

4. Blog Post (Melissa Bell and team)

5. Plum Line (Greg Sargent)

Top blogs as measured by number of reader visits:

1. Wonkblog (Ezra Klein and team)

2. Celebritology (Jen Chaney)

3. The Fix (Chris Cillizza and team)

4. Blog Post (Melissa Bell and team)

5. Plum Line (Greg Sargent)

The top articles as measured by number of pages read were:

1. Who shot bin Laden? Former SEALs fill in the blanks, by Manuel Roig-Franzia

2. F-16 pilot was ready to give her life on Sept. 11, by Steve Hendrix

3. For Zuzu of ‘It’s a Wonderful Life,’ it wasn’t such a wonderful life afterward, by Raymond M. Lane

4. Osama bin Laden killed in U.S. raid, buried at sea, by Scott Wilson, Craig Whitlock and William Branigin

5. Osama bin Laden buried at sea after being killed by U.S. forces in Pakistan , by Philip Rucker, Scott Wilson and Anne E. Kornblut

6. Steve Jobs dies; Apple co-founder was 56, by Patricia Sullivan

7. S&P downgrades U.S. credit rating for first time, by Zachary Goldfarb

8. Death of Osama bin Laden: Phone call pointed U.S. to compound — and to ‘the pacer,’ by Bob Woodward

9. Longtime keeper of Hillary Clinton’s image has forged a loyal badge of his own, by Jason Horowitz

10. Deaths in triathlons may not be so mysterious; panic attacks may be to blame, by David Brown

Top Opinion Pieces As Measured by total number of pages read were:

1. Five Myths About Why The South Seceded

2. Why Glenn Beck Lost It

3. Five Myths About The American Flag

4. Why Do Americans Still Dislike Atheists

5. Five Myths About Mormonism

January 2, 2011

Raju Narisetti


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