The number of visitors to US news and media websites has increased markedly over last year, according to figures from Hitwise.
The internet analysts report that audience share has risen 22 percent when compared to February 2007.
This represents the highest number of visits for the News and Media category recorded over the last 3 years.
Also seeing a sharp increase in traffic has been the Print category, which includes newspaper websites and online magazines. In the same period, visitor numbers for the print category have increased by 23 percent.
Hitwise put the peak in visitors down to several high interest stories being carried by US news providers in February.
“The photos of Lindsay Lohan portraying Marilyn Monroe sparked considerable interest from online users last week,” commented Heather Dougherty of Hitwise.
“Although the battle for the presidential nominations is certainly top of mind for many, celebrity news provides a refuge for less heated debate.” she continued.
The most popular of the websites in the print category was The New York Times, which accounted for 5 percent of the total visits. Other popular sites such as People.com (3%) and online version of The Washington Post (2%) also took significant shares.
The search terms used by visitors highlight the topicality and celebrity-focused nature of visits to the News and Print categories, with “lunar eclipse” and “Jennifer Lopez” proving the most searched for keywords.