TimesSelect Pundit Buzz: Annual Growth

Continuing our analysis, we want to get a better measure of the annual growth. The first column takes the blog popularity from the 12 months ending 9/17/2005, and compares it to the prior 12-month period. As noted before, we are using the odd cutoff date of 9/17 to roughly correspond to the TimesSelect period (see data). 

Each column is color-coded to give a sense as to the rate of growth. The initial spurt of "hypergrowth" is statistically meaningless since the first year of data was so small. This is mostly due, as mentioned, to Google not indexing past entries in a blog once discovered.

Growth in popularity over the prior year period> 16x> 8x> 4x> 2x> 1x

The general trend is that the rate of growth has been slowing each year.

The NYT columnists, and 4 TimesSelect bloggers, are noted in bold below.

(Note that 1.3 is the same as 30% growth, but to write it that way would necessitate writing 92.7 as 9170% growth.)

Columnist/BloggerPublication 9/17/2005 9/17/2006 9/17/2007
Michelle Malkinsyndicated columnist, blogger92.74.21.3
Andrew SullivanAtlantic Monthly blogger15.73.92.1
Christopher HitchensSlate, Vanity Fair, Atlantic27.82.63.0
Thomas FriedmanNew York Times33.33.41.9
Paul KrugmanNew York Times27.12.12.3
Hugh HewittTownHall.com blogger82.23.21.8
David BrooksNew York Times22.24.41.3
Glenn GreenwaldSalon blogger2.03839.02.4
George WillWashington Post, Newsweek23.44.91.6
Frank RichNew York Times187.62.32.7
William KristolWeekly Standard26.05.62.1
Mark Steynsyndicated columnist36.33.71.5
Pat Buchanansyndicated columnist22.03.31.7
Maureen DowdNew York Times32.43.11.4
Jonah GoldbergNational Review, LA Times31.24.01.9
Josh MarshallTPM blogger21.52.82.0
Robert NovakChicago Sun-Times68.71.81.4
Arianna HuffingtonHuffington Post blogger66.94.31.5
Kevin DrumWashington Monthly blogger40.62.61.8
Michael BaroneUSNews & World Report56.68.03.5
Charles KrauthammerWashington Post, Time20.26.81.1
Mickey KausSlate26.94.03.0
David BroderWashington Post38.86.63.4
Joe KleinTime18.911.12.5
Peggy NoonanWall Street Journal25.34.11.5
Bob HerbertNew York Times51.32.11.8
Richard CohenWashington Post22.611.41.3
David CornThe Nation23.53.11.8
Dan FroomkinWashington Post47.48.21.8
E.J. DionneWashington Post39.73.91.6
Rich LowryNational Review22.94.11.9
Nicholas KristofNew York Times29.83.21.7
Eugene RobinsonWashington Post 8.22.5
David IgnatiusWashington Post96.87.31.8
Fred BarnesWeekly Standard18.89.91.4
Fareed ZakariaNewsweek International28.93.71.9
Charlie CookNational Journal, Cook Pol. Rep.
Michael KinsleyTime34.52.71.8
Jeff JacobyBoston Globe26.84.71.5
Jonathan ChaitNew Republic, LA Times52.32.64.0
Ellen GoodmanBoston Globe25.15.72.0
Jonathan AlterNewsweek27.410.61.4
Anne ApplebaumWashington Post, Slate60.31.83.8
Tony BlankleyWashington Times15.75.41.2
Stanley FishTimesSelect blogger26.23.52.9
Clarence PageChicago Tribune39.03.43.6
Roger CohenTimesSelect blogger, Int. Her. Tribune39.56.13.6
Paul GigotWall Street Journal41.03.02.2
Judith WarnerTimesSelect blogger25.74.82.3
Chris SuellentropTimesSelect blogger9.73.63.1

The average grew by 33 in the first year; 3.7 times in the second year; and 1.8 times in the last year. 

Some of the bumps in the data can be explained by our sense of real world media events. Robert Novak's popularity tied for the slowest growth in the second year– a "mere" 80%– due to his huge notoriety the previous year from his role in the Valerie Plame leak investigation (as for Anne Applebaum's drop, no explanation comes to mind right now.) Joe Klein, Fred Barnes, and Jonathan Alter all had a nice 10x boost in 2006; perhaps due to the publicity surrounding their books. The irony is that, by authoring books, they weren't obviously giving away the content; clearly one can whip up blog buzz through traditional marketing (though there were likely excerpts and interviews which provided fodder for blogs).

Four of the Times' big 7 rebounded in the second TimesSelect year relative to the average; Maureen Dowd, David Brooks, and Nicholas Kristof fell short. It may be due to changing tastes; I don't know. (It will partially be addressed in Part 6). 

The next page will illustrate the data as absolute numbers using a graph.