The Edinburgh Evening News used a Freedom of Information request to find out how many times council staff visited its website – and how few visited its in-house ‘townhall pravda’.
The request showed www.edinburghnews.com was the one of the most popular websites among staff at City of Edinburgh Council, behind only Google and the BBC.
The site received 396,290 visits in one year – in contrast to the website of council freesheet Outlook , which didn’t even make it into the top 1000 most popular websites.
Strangely, council staff appeared to have more interest in the real-life Pravda set up by former staff of the Soviet government paper, which received 6,817 page views.
The figures, released following an FoI request from city council reporter Michael Blackley, also showed the council’s own website got 32,333 fewer hits on council computers than the Evening News.
‘It’s no surprise to us that council staff turn to their local newspaper when they want to know what it going on across Edinburgh, including what their own bosses are up to,’Edinburgh Evening News editor Tom Little told Press Gazette.
‘But we had a good laugh at the fact that while we are the best-read news site the web version of the council’s own ‘Outlook’ freesheet didn’t even make the top 1000.
‘We’ve been campaigning against it as propaganda and a waste of money – and it looks like even council workers agree.”
Tory councillor Gordon Buchan told the paper: “These figures are certainly good news for the Evening News but I’m sure it is also useful for officers to see the public reaction to what they do, and how their work is covered.
“It is useful for anyone to see public reaction and you certainly get that in the Evening News. If you are too close to a project or issue then you can get the ‘rose-tinted specs’ syndrome so you need to be able to see what the people of Edinburgh think.
“I’m sure they are also interested in some of the online comments – and some of the descriptions of them.”