Timely and comprehensive coverage of the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on San Diego County brought a record 1,532,732 readers to Times of San Diego in April.
The independent news website’s audience has nearly quadrupled compared to readership of around 400,000 a month before the first local case of COVID-19 was reported in early March.
The most-read news included a lawsuit against Fox News, a medical school professor’s plea to end the lockdown, citations issued to people watching the sunset on a beach in Encinitas, an analysis of who the virus affects, and a profile of a lockdown protest organizer. A daily list of coronavirus developments was also widely read throughout the month.
Data from Google Analytics shows that even while the website’s audience grew dramatically, it remained young, mobile and local as many San Diego readers sheltered at home.
Readers aged 18-34 made up the biggest segment with 25% of sessions, followed by 17% for ages 35-44 and 18% for 45 to 54. The website’s readers are considerably younger than the audiences for legacy newspapers and broadcast media.
A record 78% of reading sessions were on smartphones, followed by 18% on desktops and laptops, and 4% on tablets. The website uses responsive design to automatically adapt to different screen sizes.
Readers in the City of San Diego accounted for 27% of sessions, followed by 23% for readers elsewhere in San Diego County and 13% for readers elsewhere in Southern California. The balance of readers were national and even international because of the website’s coverage of politics and the military.
The website’s staff of seven contributing editors and photographers publishes an average of 25 articles a day on all aspects of life in San Diego County. During the pandemic, the team has been working longer hours while taking care to remain safe from the virus.
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