Saturday, February 03, 2007

4.8 million page views ...

No YouTube clips this week for me -

San Francisco is abuzz with media ... after it came out Wednesday night that Mayor Gavin Newsom had had an affair with his campaign manager's wife. And after he held a pres conference admitting the whole thing.

The website for the SF Chronicle,, had its most traffic ever on Thursday, according to an article in Editor and Publisher. 4.8 million page views. It's a lot.

I'll admit - I read all of the articles. I lived in the Bay Area for four years, and Newsom is compelling. He is a charismatic force and even mundane stories about him held interest. But there's a couple of important things here - the paper broke the news online (push to the web! push to the web!) and people were reading it.

But Arianna Huffington asks in a post at the Huffington Post: "By What Definition is Gavin Newsom's Sex Life 'Breaking News'?" She referred to TV coverage of Newsom's press conference, which was labelled as such.

She censures the media for fixating on things like this and adds that politicians should keep their public life private.

Well, that's all well and good, but it is news if it draws record capacity to your website. It is breaking news to readers and viewers (the Chron also put up video clips from an SF TV station they partner with).

And with the current media culture, when Newsom gets covered if he goes out to dinner, this was big breaking news. I'm not saying that "Breaking News" should be splashed across the screen at every moment (as I'm sure it was), but the amount of coverage seemed warranted by Newsom's stature and previous exposure in the media, as well as by reader/viewer response.



At Saturday, February 03, 2007, Anonymous TD said...

LA, I've never even lived on the West Coast and I was shocked by the news! He's a very well-known politician even outside of the Bay Area and California. By the numbers you showed and that fact that Huffington took out the time to write an entire post about him and how people are talking about him shows that he's newsworthy, as you said. Just because the news about him seems trivial to some, he's a public figure and when you get to a certain status, as silly as it sounds, almost everything you do gets gobbled up as newsworthy!

At Saturday, February 03, 2007, Anonymous cy said...

I agree with you LA. This may be reminiscent of the Clinton-Lewinsky fiasco but on a much tamer level, which we may be thankful for. I think that era was among the lowest of points for journalists. Certainly, this is perhaps breaking news when Newsom comes out to admit the affair. Constituents have a right to know about this. And as you say, his high profile may warrant this newsworthy. But since Newsom did admit it, I hope it fades into the background quickly. We don't want history to repeat itself. But I have a feeling the story will probably fall into the mix soon.

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