Monday, June 06, 2005

Online news lasts for 36 hours only

[ MONDAY, JUNE 06, 2005 10:38:14 AM]
The shelf-life of an online news story is just 36 hours, says a recent research. This confirms what we have always suspected — yesterday’s news is stale
A team of scientists from Hungary and the United States has found that the majority of online news items have a lifetime of just 36 hours. As reporters have always suspected, yesterday’s news is stale, and the day before’s news is invisible.
Zoltan Dezs of the University of Notre Dame in Indiana and colleagues came up with the figure from an analysis of hits on Origo, Hungary’s main online news and entertainment portal. The researchers say that the result could help news agencies to determine how much impact their stories have, and how that depends on the online habits of their readers.
It has always been difficult to assess the lifetime and impact of newspaper stories, because it is hard to monitor buyers’ reading habits. But working out which stories they read, and when, is easier for online sites that can log the hits for each news item.
Dezs and his colleagues collected such data for a single day on the Origo portal, during which time it released 3,908 news stories. On a typical day, Origo logs a total of 6,500,000 hits. The researchers looked at the relationship between the number of hits per item and the date the item was released, as well as the patterns of visits to the site by individual users.
Not surprisingly, each item receives the most visits on the day it is posted, and the number of hits falls off rapidly after that. After just three days, most people who are ever going to read the item have already done so.
Of course, some news items do have lifetimes much longer than the 36-hour average. They are the ones picked up by the blogs or published by another website.


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