Fun fact: in 2007, a significant amount percentage of readers of British online newspapers accessed the sites from the US. For instance, the average share of unique users from the USA in the total readership of the Independent was 73%; while the corresponding figure was 42% in the case of The Sun, 41% for the Times, and 39% for the Guardian.
This state of things comes with a range of interesting corollaries; as I understand, having a sizeable international audience can be both perceived as an asset and a liability, at least from a business point of view. What mostly concerns me is how American readers come across British publications online –
– according to the study of Neil Thurman, they rely chiefly on aggregators such as Fark, and Drudge Report, and on automatically created news indices, such as Google News. Although Fark is in some respects different to Digg and Reddit, it shares their basic principle of filtering online content with the help of a community. Which is to say, this article suggests that social news sites can have a meaningful influence on the mainstream media – not necessarily by channelling stories from the fringe media to the mainstream (although this is also a theoretical possibility), but also by influencing, directing, the flow of attention (so to say) of readers.
Thurman, Neil (2007): “The globalization of journalism online,” in: Journalism 8(3), 285-307.