Katrina Drove Online Traffic In August To Local Media - InformationWeek

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Katrina Drove Online Traffic In August To Local Media

Nola.com, the web home of the New Orleans Times-Picayune newspaper, saw its traffic soar 277 percent between July and August.

Hundreds of thousands of people looking for the latest news on Hurricane Katrina went to New Orleans' local media last month to get the latest on the storm's devastation, a web metrics firm said Monday.

Nola.com, the web home of the New Orleans Times-Picayune newspaper owned by Advance Publications, saw its traffic soar 277 percent from July to 1.7 million visitors in August, ComScore Networks said. Meanwhile, the city's CBS affiliate WWL-TV, owned by Belo Corp., experienced a 258 percent spike in traffic to its site, WWLTV.com, to 878,000.

"Sites with specific local content rarely see this kind of growth, but the Internet allowed the entire nation to access information straight from the epicenter of the disaster," Peter Daboll, president and chief executive of ComScore, said in a statement.

More than half of the traffic to Nola.com originated in parts of the country that were outside the storm's path. The Pacific region accounted for 10 percent of the visitors, and the upper Midwest states of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin accounted fro 11 percent.

Elsewhere on the web, people heading back to school drove three categories related to career and education information into the top 10 gaining categories in August. Overall, more than 84 million people visited sites in the education category, up 9 percent from July. Standout sites in the category included CollegeBoard.com, FastWeb and GreatSchool.net, ComScore said.

The beginning of college and professional football seasons in August helped the sports category climb 6 percent from July to 60.9 million visitors. The NFL Internet Group was the Internet's top-gaining multi-site property in August. Its traffic increased 74 percent to 12.6 million visitors.

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