We recently completed a "mini-study" that examined the websites of Canada's top 20 newspapers.  We discovered that Canada is yet another country where newspapers are lagging in their adoption of Web 2.0.  Here are the newspapers we looked at, followed by their weekly circulation figures, as of March 2005, courtesy of the Canadian Newspaper Association:

Toronto Star: 3,236,655
The Globe and Mail: 1,970,216
Le Journal de Montréal: 1,909,510
La Presse, Montréal: 1,504,772
*National Post: 1,447,475
The Toronto Sun: 1,355,969
*The Vancouver Sun: 1,095,975
*The Gazette, Montreal: 1,004,983
*Ottawa Citizen: 973,347
*The Province, Vancouver: 923,135
*The Edmonton Journal: 913,026
Winnipeg Free Press: 879,502
*Calgary Herald: 873,574
The Chronicle-Herald, Halifax: 731,031
Le Journal de Québec: 716,676
The Spectator, Hamilton: 643,275
The London Free Press: 617,508
Le Soleil, Québec: 599,095
The Edmonton Sun: 511,404
*Times Colonist, Victoria: 509,887

What's interesting about this list is that the newspapers with asteriks before their name are all part of a network of papers that are tied to Canada.com, and all share the same website layout and features.  Also, the Globe and Mail offers a mobile version that is accessible from cell phones and other hand-held devices.  Here is a graph summarizing the results of our research:


As you can see, the Canadian newspapers are seriously lacking in functionality, and appear to be tools for recycling print content. Very few of the papers have content unique to the Web or online functionality.

Here is a graph comparing the Canadian results with the American results:


Canadian papers were closest to their American counterparts in terms of registration and offering forums/message boards.  However, it must be noted that while many American newspapers require their readers to register online, this registration is free. For Canada, however, most content is locked and is available only to people with paid online or print subscriptions.  In addition, the Canadian reporter blogs were usually sub-par, resembling online reprints of reporter columns.

Finally, here is a graph that summarizes and compares the results for the US, Canada, Japan, and Italy.  Due to the varying nature of this research, each country study was conducted over a different number of papers.  Japan's figures are out of 21 papers, Italy's are out of 25, the US and Canada are out of 20.  Also, I left the UK out of this graph because it only considered 10 papers.


You can view coverage of our other newspaper studies here.