Why Yahoo News Was Number One on Election Night

    November 14, 2008
    Chris Crum

You may have heard that Yahoo News was the most popular site on the night of the United States Presidntial Election ten days ago. Now comScore has confirmed this along with some numbers for other sources making up the top five:

– Yahoo! News: 7.6 million unique users, 259,244,751 total page views

– MSNBC: 6.8 million unique users, 232,076,565 total page views

– CNN.com: 6.3 million unique users, 134,573,839 total page views

– AOL News: 2.5 million unique users, 45,122,501 total page views

– FoxNews.com:1.9 million unique users, 31,856,733 total page views

So what made so many people turn to Yahoo News on Election day over other sources? Well, Yahoo provides a list of the things they were doing, so you can get a better picture if you were not one of the visitors to the site that day.


 Richard Vega, the Senior Editor for Yahoo News has spoken a little bit about the night on the Yodel Anecdotal blog:

At Yahoo! News, our editors’ roles are to program headlines from dozens of national and international newspapers, wires, and broadcast networks. But on Election Night, we took on a more pronounced mandate as news filter. For example, if a network called a critical swing state, we would wait until at least another network called the state before announcing the news in our breaking news blog and breaking news bar. After all, we were serving what turned out to a record-breaking audience — today, comScore confirmed that we attracted 7.5 million people, the largest single day of traffic in online news history, surpassing CNN.com, MSNBC.com, AOL.com and FoxNews.com. We couldn’t afford to be wrong.

Journalists are known cynics. But when Barack Obama surpassed 270 electoral votes, we all knew it was a huge moment. The newsroom suddenly got very quiet. The sense of history was palpable. I think we all felt honored to be standing there, passing that word along to our readers.

Vega says that he had just one rule for the Yahoo News team on Election night, and that was "get it right!" He recalled a certain previous election where news sources were reporting conflicting outcomes. He did not want his team to be part of such a flub. No such flub was in the cards for anyone that night though, as Obam obviously won by a landslide.