Manhunt Coverage Drives Record Traffic to ‘Seattle Times’ Site — Twitter A Key

By: Joe Strupp

The Seattle Times had its largest Web traffic ever on Monday with coverage of the manhunt for a cop killer who gunned down four police officers in a nearby community. Editors credit a massive Twittering effort for much of the traffic.

“Our tweets definitely contributed to the Web traffic,” said Cory Tolbert Haik, assistant managing editor of seattletimes.com. “It pulls people back into the site.”

The result was a record 3.3 million page views on Monday. “The tweets were the third most-read thing on our site,” said Kathy Best, managing editor/digital news.

At one point, at least 10 staffers were tweeting about the shooting on Monday, a day after four officers were killed in an ambush style shooting in nearby Lakewood. Police were hunting for the killer all day Monday, eventually finding and fatally shooting him early Tuesday morning.

As the manhunt continued Monday, the Times Web site posted the tweets at the top of the home page. Among those tweeting was executive editor David Boardman.

“We were manning Twitter as a significant part of our coverage,” said Haik. “It was at the top of the site because it was the most live thing.”

Best added that the Twitter impact “showed up in the way people were getting to the content. We had more people coming in through stories, which is attributable to the fact we were pushing content out through social media.”

Monday’s manhunt coverage also marked the first time the Times used Google Wave to generate interest and information. Editor’s created a “wave” about the story on Monday, eventually drawing in close to 500 participants at one time, Haik said.

“There were people interested in the story, people interested in the technology and people with bits of information,” she said. “We even built a map inside the Google Wave following the manhunt.”


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