The New York Times Struggles to Keep Traffic in the Digital Age

The New York Times, one of America’s most iconic newspapers, has been struggling to keep up with the digital age. For example: when Nelson Mandela died, The New York Times published a full-length feature about Mandela’s life and various contributions. Soon after, the story was picked up and repackaged by The Huffington Post — who managed to get a lot more traffic did it than The Times did.
“I’m not proud of this. But this is your competition,” said a Huffington Post executive, regarding the feature’s popularity.

The Times has seen this happen again and again. The newspaper struggles to keep traffic coming to its site — even as other, more digital-savvy competitors continue to re-purpose their articles by creating content and headlines that are considered more user-friendly and clickable.

The issues The Times has been experiencing were apparent after a leaked report, titled “Innovation,” laid out the problems that internal staffers saw with the paper’s move forward into the digital age. One big problem The Times encountered was understanding how to curate information for individuals.

As Business2Community points out, “Curating a reader’s journey requires the right tagging. And that’s where the paper falls flat.” They note that it took The New York Times 15 years to begin tagging its recipes with the ingredients used — even though this improved search optimization by about 52% for these articles. It’s also worth pointing out that companies blogging 20 to 50 times a month receive about 45% more web traffic — beefing up blog sections that re-purpose existing content could be key for the company’s future.

The New York Times doesn’t need to be Buzzfeed or The Huffington Post in order to be successful. However, it does need to learn how to adapt to a modern environment, and to a digital news world that caters to the needs and interests of the consumer, rather than the other way around.


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