March 28, 2012

The Onion: Most read news source in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and New Mexico


Jon Bruner of Forbes, with the assistance of Bitly, has created a fascinating map, which shows state by state where news sources are read and shared at above-average levels.

Constructed from accumulated data, according to Bitly,

“[w]hen you share or click a link on a social network like Facebook or Twitter, you’re most likely using a Bitly link. Bitly provides the infrastructure for social sharing across networks and, in the middle, collects a huge amount of data on how real people share ideas. Given the right tools, and by asking the right questions, this mass of clicks can be transformed into useful knowledge about the social web, helping us understand how people use the Internet.”

Some of the results are expected, for example, The New York Times dominates on the North-East coast, NPR is popular in Oregon and the Chicago Tribune is mostly read in, well, Illinois.

Others conclusions are more surprising.  For instance, who knew the Huffington Post was widely read in Appalachia.  But I, for one, was most happy to discover that respected news source The Onion leads in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and New Mexico.

The Onion sister-site, A. V. Club, congratulated the faux news giant, with a headline “The Onion is the most influential media site in Wisconsin, says a source that is not us.”  A.V. Club also offered a good interpretation of the results,

“And now for some stereotype-confirming information: The most influential news source in Texas is Fox News, because of course it is, and the source that holds the most sway in Oregon is NPR, because Oregonians need news that they can listen to while they are steaming their morning chai. Shockingly, Al Jazeera is not influential anywhere in the United States, but was still included on the map key. The same is true of Forbes, which also decided to point out that it was influential nowhere.”

Ariel Bogle is a publicist at Melville House.