Updated on May 26 at 5:55 p.m. ET
Those are just some of the stories The Washington Post published this week. Every day, the national paper produces an astonishing number of words about an astonishing number of topics. If the scholar Benedict Anderson is right that newspapers help us understand the “simultaneity” of the rest of the country and world, then the Post especially would seem to transmit a great deal of simultaneousness with its stories.
But just how many stories? I recently came across a surprising statistic: The Post publishes an average of 1,200 stories, graphics, and videos per day. That’s more than one story every two minutes. Could it possibly be true?
A Post spokeswoman confirmed the number to me. But there’s a twist—the number includes both staff-produced articles and wire stories, written elsewhere. The Post editorial staff itself produces about 500 stories per day, she said.
That may not sound as large a number—but it still stacks up when compared to its peers.
Let’s start with The New York Times. “NYTimes.com publishes roughly 150 articles a day (Monday-Saturday), 250 articles on Sunday and 65 blog posts per day,” said Danielle Rhoades Ha, a spokeswoman for the Times, in an email. “It publishes 330 basic graphics a month, and about 120 items a month published in the interactive template, which includes multimedia, interactive graphics and larger static graphics.” That comes to about 15 pieces of multimedia content per day.
Taken together, the Times publishes about 230 pieces of content—stories, graphics, interactives, and blog posts—daily. This number has risen by more than 35 percent this decade. In 2010, the paper published about 170 pieces per day: about 150 on weekdays and about 300 on Sunday.
This growth in online story count hasn’t changed the amount of news that makes it into the paper. “The best measure for print is the total space devoted to news coverage, which has remained the same in the print Times since 2010,” Rhoades Ha told me.
But that Times count doesn’t include wire stories, as the Post’s does. The Times says it publishes several hundred stories from the Associated Press or other wire services online every day, but almost all of them expire and go offline after a few weeks. The number of wire stories that make it to the print paper—about 13 per day—hasn’t changed significantly since 2010.
At The Wall Street Journal, the set-up is different. Because the Journal’s online content more closely mirrors what makes it into the paper, it publishes only about 240 stories per day. That’s both online and in print. About seven wire stories per day make it into the paper.
At the Journal, the number of stories per day has fallen more significantly than at other venues. Five years ago, the paper published about 325 stories per day. A spokeswoman told me that the recent drop in Wall Street Journal stories per day can be explained by the fact that the paper integrated its own newsroom with the Dow Jones wire service in 2013.
“The integration allowed for focused coverage—there are no longer pieces that are covered separately by the Journal and DJ Newswires,” she said.
But how do these more august outlets compare to something newer—like BuzzFeed, for instance? A spokeswoman told me that BuzzFeed published 6,365 stories in April and 319 videos—or about 222 pieces of content per day.
That number is quickly rising. She sent me an April-to-April comparison:
In April of 2016, we published 6,365 posts on Buzzfeed.com and uploaded 319 videos.
In April of 2015 (one year ago), we published 5,271 posts and uploaded 205 videos.
In April of 2012 (four years ago), we published 914 posts and uploaded 10 videos.
The videos mentioned in that count are usually shown on BuzzFeed.com, uploaded to YouTube, and displayed on Facebook.
The New York Times employs about 1,300 employees in editorial positions. As of 2014, the Journal counts about 1,800 (though that figure includes Dow Jones wire staff). The Washington Post has more than 700 editorial staff. BuzzFeed has more than 460.
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