In a period where some have questioned the ability of investigative journalism to compete with softer news items on the web and other digital platforms, NBC News' efforts to expand its investigative unit have paid off with significantly higher traffic, reports Greg Gittrich, VP of news and product and executive editor of NBC News Digital.
Gittrich notes that the investigations section of NBCNews.com set a new traffic record in October of 2013 with more than 15 million page views, more than double the October 2012 figure, and 9 million unique visitors. The increases are particularly notable because October 2012 was in the middle of a hotly contested presidential election.
The section had also seen significant growth in September, when page views hit 11 million, more than five times the 2 million page views from September 2012.
Gittrich attributes the growth to their push to expand the resources of the investigative unit and their decision to combine the TV and digital investigative units.
"We have been investing in original content and investigative journalism has been a crucial part of that," he says.
"The key has been combining the TV and digital units into one unit that works together and breaks stories across all platforms," he adds.
The increased traffic has also occurred in social media, where the Investigations Facebook "likes" have grown by more than 200% and Twitter followers have grown by more than 100%.
A notable example of the combined efforts was a report by Lisa Myers on problems with the Affordable Health Care Act that led to Chuck Todd's exclusive interview with President Obama. In both cases, NBC News broke stories online.