'Fleet Street heritage' helps Mail Online become world's top newspaper website (according to Comscore)

Mail Online is now the world’s biggest newspaper website after overtaking the New York Times, according to new figures from Comscore

Data from the online tracking service shows Mail Online reached 45.3 million people last December compared to the Times’s 44.8 million.

This compares with more flattering figures released by ABC which suggest Mail Online was accessed by nearly 85m “unique browsers” in November (the latest month it has audited).

Trailing the top two are USA Today, Tribune Newspapers spot and then The Guardian.

In an interview with BuzzFeed the Mail Online’s editor and publisher Martin Clarke said the growth was driven through US traffic, adding: ‘We just do news that people want to read.”

‘Our trajectory, and our momentum, is a lot faster than the New York Times,” he said. “With their paywall it’s flatlined a bit.”

Clarke also credited the paper’s ‘Fleet Street heritage” as the source of its “entertaining, engaging way with clear, concise, straightforward copy and lots of good pictures”.

Clarke said the website now has nine editorial staff in Los Angeles and twenty in New York, and he said that a key hire was deputy editor Katherine Thomson from Huffington Post.

“She brought a lot of fresh thinking to the party in terms of what we cover,” he said.

When he appeared before the Joint Committee on Privacy and Injunctions earlier this week, Clarke said:

In the digital world if you don’t listen to your users, if you don’t involve them, if you don’t listen to their tastes, then you’re dead.

We don’t follow that data slavishly, that’s where I come in, it’s my job to mediate the light and the shade. So that’s why it’s different from the [Daily] Mail.

Equally we do more showbiz…we do vastly more science, we do more political commentary, we do more foreign news because we’re not limited by physical space.

He added:

If you’re going for scale you can’t just fit in a niche. You can’t say ‘we’ll be in the red-top end, or the middle-market or the broadsheet end’. Niches aren’t big enough on the internet to survive, so you have to be a much broader church.

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