On redesigned newspaper Web site, new media beats breaking news

CourantLike many Tribune-owned Web sites, the Hartford Courant’s online news site underwent a summer redesign. On June 28, Courant.com relaunched with a less-cluttered, photo-heavy homepage that featured tabbed access to major news items, user-friendly browsing tools and centrally located breaking news headlines.

But after its first full month, the change has led to decreased online readership. According to an August 15th Courant blog post, total page views had declined, though the number of unique views had increased by 40,000.

Despite these relatively depressing numbers, the author of the post was quick to offer an explanation:

Change in any publication almost always comes with an initial loss of readers, and the redesign of Courant.com appears to be no exception. Given that it’s summer, however, when readership drops off a little anyway, the first full month since the web site’s relaunch looks fairly promising.

The post also revealed the top five most-viewed pages:

1) Hartford Courant / news / Connecticut – Front … 269,878
2) The Day In Pictures …. 266,327
3) George David and Marie Douglas-David photos … 194,477
4) How To Spend $53,000 A Week Like Marie Douglas-David photos … 170,096
5) Joe Jackson: Omer Bhatti is Michael’s Secret Son … 105,768

The Courant may be the country’s oldest newspaper, but its online readers are apparently more captivated by pictures and photo essays on how to spend $53,000 like the estranged ex-wife of a multi-millionaire than breaking news.

Or at least they all want to know how to spend more money in a week than the newspaper can now hope to make in online advertising.

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