As we close the first full week in 2020, and since it’s awards season, we decided to do some awarding for the best publishers on social in 2019. That’s right, it’s Whippies time!

These are the categories we ultimately landed on this year:

  1. Top overall publisher
  2. Top publisher on Facebook 
  3. Best newcomer 
  4. Most innovative publisher
  5. Best coverage of platforms & internet culture
  6. Best use of NewsWhip data  

CNN – Top overall

We gave this award to CNN last year for the dominance of their content on social, and it is once again only fair to bestow the award to the powerhouse publisher.

Line graph showing the engagement to CNN's Web Content

As shown in the graph there, CNN had an unrivaled year for much of 2019, consistently topping our publisher rankings for the majority of the year, and garnering as many as 16 million engagements per week to its web content. 

While the likes of Fox, the Daily Mail, and the New York Times have occasionally pushed CNN close in terms of engagements to its content, none of them could match its consistent high performance, which is why they receive the overall award.

LADbible – Top publisher on Facebook

The LADbible is the top publisher on Facebook, and it’s not even really that close. In each of the studies we have done of the top Facebook Pages from publishers in 2019, LADBible has been significantly ahead of the chasing pack, often doubling the number of engagements of its closest competitors. 

Here is our ranking from our most recent Facebook report, in Q3 of last year:

Histogram showing Facebook Pages ranked by engagement in Q3 2019

LADbible was the only Facebook Page to break 100 million engagements in Q3, and was some 30 million engagements ahead of UNILAD, its nearest rival. 

OneZero – Best Newcomer

Building a new publication is not easy, so we always think it’s admirable when that happens from scratch. 

Launched towards the beginning of this year, OneZero attracted a lot of writing talent very quickly, and has since focused on producing interesting and engaging long-form content about the tech and science space. 

The long form approach and attraction of writers with serious resumes to one, newly created platform is a promising step in journalism, similar to what The Athletic achieved with their expansion last year. That’s why we’re awarding OneZero our newcomer award for 2019. 

Washington Post – Most Innovative

Last year it was Reddit, this year it’s TikTok. We loved the Washington Post’s fresh approach to delivering their content on different platforms and truly engaging their audiences where they were. In 2018 that took the form of building a community around Reddit. 

In 2019, however, a new kid has emerged on the block, and the Washington Post was the first major publisher to take advantage of its arrival

Led by Dave Jorgensen’s mammoth, never-ending efforts on the platform, the paper has created some hugely viral moments, including Beto O’Rourke standing on a desk to give a speech and a fun Julian Castro/ Joaquin Castro double act. Who says politics has to be so serious? 

The Washington Post was the worthy winner of our innovation award for the second year running.

NBC News – Best Coverage of Platforms and Internet Culture

We gave this award to The Atlantic last year, thanks to Taylor Lorenz’s intrepid reporting on youth/internet culture. It would be fairly easy just to allow that award to follow Lorenz to the New York Times, and it might well be deserved, but we decided to mix it up this year. 

NBC News has been a consistent player in the space, with quality tech reporting from the likes of Jason Abbruzzese and others for years. In terms of covering the social/influencer side of things, that mantle has been taken up by Kalhan Rosenblatt, whose coverage of TikTok trends has been among the best out there.

For the breadth of their work, we’re awarding NBC the Whippie for coverage of platforms and internet culture this year.  

Axios – Best Use of NewsWhip Data

This one is self-indulgent, because they use our data in a major recurring feature, but these are our awards and we will be self-indulgent if we want to. 

Axios has an ongoing feature in which they use a Boolean query to track the 2020 presidential candidate with the most engagements, as well as the political issue that has received the most attention on a week-to-week basis.

This has shown the attention being paid to various politicians every week, but their coverage has also thrown up some interesting highlights, such as the sheer volume of articles written about the Mueller report, as well as one our personal highlights of the year, Baby Yoda’s dominance.

If you’d like to see how you can get NewsWhip data into your reporting, check out our tools here