Unexpectedly Intriguing!
December 10, 2004

Writing in his WorldNetDaily column, Do the Math, Hugh Hewitt has issued a challenge for MSM "journalists" to measure the impact their writing has in the ongoing discussion of national issues versus the impact that bloggers have, as measured by actual readership.

My guess is that Hugh's challenge for MSM is unlikely to go far. In my experience, most journalists have trouble doing even simple math, such as counting the number of newspapers they sell to their subscribers. Expecting them to do real math that would involve advanced concepts such as adding and subtracting could well make their heads explode.

So, to avoid leaving a nasty mess for the janitor to clean up, I'm offering the following tool for the typical MSM columnist to compare their total actual readership for a given column versus that of a blogger to be determined by the user. Here's how it make it work:

  1. Enter the number of copies of the column in print. We'll be generous here and assume the circulation number issued by the various MSM print venues that carry the column are real.
  2. Enter the percentage of people who actually read the column in print (this eliminates the people who use the print edition for dog training or to wrap fish. (Editor's note: Yes, I am picking on the LA Times here. They deserve it.) This information should be available from your publisher's marketing department or, not coincidentally I might add, from the people who negotiate your syndication contract.
  3. Enter the number of times that your column is viewed online by individual (or unique) readers. This information is available from your webmaster or your information technology department, who have access to analysis tools like WebTrends that can provide the number for you.

Next, it's time to visit your competition, which you'll need to do twice, once just before your column is published, and once a day later. Many bloggers simply place a hit-counter on their website, which makes the job easy. Take these numbers, and enter them in the appropriate boxes below.

Now, you just need to click the "Do the math for me" button to see how you compare. As John Kerry would say, "bon chance!"

Input Data for the Columnist
Total number of printed copies of column
Percentage of actual readers (%)
Total Number of Individual or Unique Online Readers

Input Data for the Blogger
Before - Number of Blogger Site Visits
After - Number of Blogger Site Visits

Calculated Values
Estimated Total Number of MSM Columnist Readers
Total Number of Blogger Site Visits

Obviously, whoever has the larger number of total readers wins, and is far more likely to wield greater real influence.

About Political Calculations

Welcome to the blogosphere's toolchest! Here, unlike other blogs dedicated to analyzing current events, we create easy-to-use, simple tools to do the math related to them so you can get in on the action too! If you would like to learn more about these tools, or if you would like to contribute ideas to develop for this blog, please e-mail us at:

ironman at politicalcalculations.com

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