Forbes online has launched a new Media Map page to show who's reading what where. It features "the most influential media outlets in the country," and the Seattle Times is one of them, at least for the month. The paper earned that accolade after readers lined up to click on an odd wire-service story headlined "Leopard kills man, scalps another, in Indian city."
The keys words "Indian" and "scalps" may have attracted many of them. The headline suggested an ironic tale about a big cat killing and scalping Indians in an Indian town in America.
Actually, the cat was hunting Indians in an Indian town in India.
But cat-scalps-Indian was no dog-bites-man story. It's a startling tale of wild-animal rampage, with a dramatic photo of the big cat cornering a frightened man. Almost 13,000 Times visitors have clicked in to read it.
That was by far the most-read of several stories Forbes used to measure the Times' online popularity, earning the paper a spot as one of just 17 top news sources across the U.S., from ABC News to Al Jazerra, whose stories "are read and shared at above-average levels."
It seems prestigious. Only a few media sources - the LA and NY Times among them - dominated their own states or region like the online Times, according to the rankings. Oregonians, by contrast, prefer NPR, while Idahoans favor MSNBC and Montanans are partial to Fox News.
Still, the Times isn't exactly trumpeting the honor, having yet to mention it in its columns. Maybe that's because Forbes' measurement standard appears to be quantity, not quality. Or even veracity.
Citing three years of exhausting partisan politics, constant gridlock in Congress, and an overall feeling that the entire nation has "completely lost it," President Barack Obama openly asked a campaign-rally crowd Tuesday why he'd want to serve another term as president of "this godforsaken country."
That piece ran in those states' most-influential news source, The Onion.