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Shocker? Trib Dominates Illinois Media Landscape

By JoshMogerman in News on Mar 24, 2012 8:00PM

It is not unusual to hear Chicagoans whining about their local media options, especially the Trib. But some interesting new online data points in a different direction. Illinoisans love the Chicago Tribune. Hoosiers do too.

Forbes is in partnership with to create visualizations that make sense of the billions of clicks on the company’s shortened links. Their first infographic foray compares sources of news articles linked to the locations they were sent from to create a map showing the most popular news outlet in each state.

Since this partnership is rolled out on Jon Bruner’s "Data Driven" blog on the Forbes website, there is a surprising lack of explanation for the data geeks wanting to delve into this further (and even less for folks concerned about digital privacy implications):

Bitly’s dataset, wrangled by data scientists Hilary Mason and Anna Smith, consists of every click on every Bitly link on the Web. Bitly makes its data available publicly—just add ‘+’ to the end of any Bitly link to see how many clicks it’s gotten. For Bitly’s collaboration with Forbes, Smith and Mason looked for news sources and individual articles that were unusually popular in certain states compared to national averages. The interactive map starts by showing which news source dominates in each state by this measure: the Washington Post in Virginia and Maryland, the Chicago Tribune in Illinois, and so on…
Overall, the map is a mixed bag for the Trib. Yeah, they made the list with the big boys. But, even though only a few dailies made the cut, it would be surprising for Colonel McCormick’s baby to not show up due to its regional importance (same goes for the Tribune Media Company's other property on the map, the Los Angeles Times). However, the paper’s reach looks pretty limited. It dominates neighboring Indiana, which is surely disappointing to Indianapolis Star readers, and seems to register heavily in Iowa too; but that is about it.

One thing is for sure; the map sharpens our admiration for Wisconsin, where The Onion seems to be the paper of record!