Jeremy Porter from Journalistics has a post up where he breaks down the top 25 newspapers as measured by Twitter followers.  Below are the top 5 accounts, according to his research.

  1. @nytimes – 2,668,948
  2. @wsj – 464,591
  3. @washingtonpost – 204,514
  4. @latimes – 83,335
  5. @usatoday – 72,929

We’ve covered this ground a bit ourselves in the past, so I found his post both interesting and troubling. 

First the interesting part. 

He finds the New York Times now has more Twitter followers than print subscribers.  Wow. 

Also, while I think he missed some newspapers and accounts, the dominance of the New York Times on Twitter is hard to dispute.  In addition to the main New York Times account he lists, the NYT has a variety of other topic specific accounts that have well over 100,000 followers each.  Brand still matters, and the Old Gray Lady’s brand still has some life.

On the troubling side, the methodology here is really flawed and this list should be taken as entirely anecdotal.  All he has done is found the main Twitter accounts of major newspapers and listed the number of followers.  This ranking methodology doesn’t take into account the many, many different Twitter strategies being employed by newspapers and media in general.

Lots of newspapers don’t really promote an overall Twitter feed and instead push topic specific feeds that attract tons of followers.  Lots of papers have chosen to promote the accounts of individual reporters and columnists instead of accounts for the paper themselves.

So you can’t really measure how a newspaper is using Twitter by looking at a single, central account.  To perform a meaningful study, you’d really need to look at the potentially hundreds of different accounts that make up a newspapers Twitter universe.  Hopefully someone will take on that larger research project at some point so we can get some meaningful data on how newspaper are using Twitter.

About the Author
Todd Zeigler
Todd Zeigler serves as the Brick Factory’s chief strategist and oversees the operations of the firm. In his sixteen year career in digital, he has planned and implemented campaigns for clients including the Pickens Plan, International Youth Foundation, Panthera, Edison Electric Institute, and the American Chemistry Council. Todd develops ambitious online advocacy programs, manages crises, implements online marketing strategies, and develops custom applications and software. He is bad at golf though.