Virginia Tech Tragedy Spurred Online News Boost

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People searching for information and an understanding of the events surrounding the shootings on Virginia Tech’s campus hit online news sites in droves.

Virginia Tech Tragedy Spurred Online News Boost
Virginia Tech Tragedy Spurred Online News Boost
Virginia Tech Tragedy Spurred Online News Boost

It’s nearly impossible to embrace the unthinkable without some context. Fleeting images, sparse reporting, and few details led people to rush to a number of online destinations to find out more than what the television could tell them on April 16th.

Hitwise assessed the impact of people heading for news sites for more information about the unfolding drama at Virginia Tech. The normal interest people have in weather dropped off dramatically, as both Weather.com and Yahoo Weather saw about a third of their usual traffic evaporate.

Yahoo News was the most heavily visited of News and Media websites tracked by Hitwise. The site drew 8.69 percent of all visits to that category. Websites for cable news channels MSNBC and CNN saw their percentages rise to 7.56 and 5.56 percent of category visits.

Weather.com followed those three sites, with aggregation site Google News in fifth place with a slight uptick from its Sunday traffic. Conventional TV and cable news sites saw their traffic increase by double and triple digits from Sunday, reflecting perhaps a greater instinctual trust people have in those outlets.

Media outlets have turned to another kind of traffic to gain viewers. AdAge reported how some outlets were buying paid search keywords on Google for “Virginia Tech shooting.” At press time, ABC News, the New York Times, and a British outfit called The First Post were showing up as sponsored links.

Virginia Tech Tragedy Spurred Online News Boost
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