Radio Liberty Russian website stops showing number of visitors to hide precipitous decline
UPDATE After the publication of this BBG Watch article, the Radio Liberty Russian website resumed showing number of views for some of its articles. They are quite low compared to before September 2012.
Monthly Data for Radio Liberty Russian Website
Graph Source: http://www.liveinternet.ru/stat/svoboda.org/index.html?date=2012-12-01;period=month
Graph Source: http://www.liveinternet.ru/stat/svoboda.org/index.html?date=2012-12-01
As of today, December 5, Masha Gessen’s Radio Liberty no longer shows numbers of visitors on its Russian website, presumably to hide a precipitous decline in site traffic. The site has lost more than half of its audience since dozens of Radio Liberty journalists were fired in late September and Masha Gessen took over as the new Russian Service director on October 1.
On December 4, Radio Liberty Russian website had about 37,000 visitors. For comparison, in September, the average rate was 100,000, which represents a decline in traffic of more than 60 percent. The most popular articles now have on average 800-2000 visitors. Formerly, the most popular aticles were read by tens of thousands of site visitors. Even now, some of the most popular items are old articles that had been written by Radio Liberty journalists who were fired.
Before today it was possible to see the number of visits right on the Radio Liberty Russian website. As of today, the website lists 5 “most popular aticles of today’ without any figures.
According to reports, before coming to Radio Liberty with her team of web editors, Masha Gessen and her associates lost site visitors for their former employer, the Russian geographic magazine Vokrug Sveta.
Ludmila Telen (Телень, Людмила Олеговна – Russian Wikipedia), an award-winning Russian journalist who was fired in September from Radio Liberty, said in an interview for OnlineTV.ru that Radio Liberty’s daily Russian website audience has declined from 100,000 to 40,000 and continues to fall. She attributed the drop in site visits to the mass dismissals of experienced web editors and journalists, the hiring of staff lacking multimedia and news reporting background, and new management policies which de-emphasize critical news coverage.