October 2013: record traffic of 2.68m unique users on newstatesman.com

What you've been reading during an extraordinary and record-breaking month for the NS website.

**Unique monthly users of www.newstatesman.com soar past the 2.6 million mark in October after strong online growth all year

**October website figures smash previous record of 1.84 million in August

**Thousands of downloads of the all-new NS app in its first two weeks

**Magazine expands to 72 pages thanks to growing advertising revenue

The New Statesman today announced record traffic to its award-winning politics and culture website in October. More than two and a half million people visited newstatesman.com over the month – a new high which follows strong growth all year and a peak of 1.84 million unique users in August. The latest figures mean the New Statesman now enjoys an online readership more than twice that of the Spectator, sealing its place as Britain’s biggest political website.

Jason Cowley, the editor of the New Statesman, said: “These bumper figures are yet another cause for celebration as we draw near to the end of our centenary year. But these figures are not an outlier: they follow strong growth all year.”

Cowley said: “Since the successful redesign of newstatesman.com two years ago, our in-house team – led by our web editor, Caroline Crampton, and George Eaton, editor of our rolling politics blog, The Staggers – have made sure more and more online readers turn to us to find the very best writing about politics, ideas, current affairs, philosophy, religion and culture. I am delighted that the website has developed its own distinctive identity. Its success mirrors that of the print magazine, which has just expanded to 72 pages this week as a result of buoyant advertising revenues and a significant increase in paid-for circulation. Indeed, subscriptions are more than 20 per cent up [on last year] in 2013.”

Helen Lewis, deputy editor of the New Statesman, said: “Russell Brand’s essay was a huge success for us, with more than half a million hits, nearly 90,000 Facebook interactions and 1,000 tweets. But in the same weekend, we had other, more low-key successes: a piece from our new blogger Ian Steadman which made the front page of Reddit, for example, and a great take on Educating Yorkshire which went viral on Facebook. It’s clear that this is no fluke: our traffic has grown by more than 400% since the site was relaunched in April last year.”

The New Statesman was the first British periodical to launch online (in 1995) and currently publishes all its magazine content online, free to view, a week after print publication. The website combines essays, cultural criticism and reportage with witty, irreverent and polemical blogs and social commentary. More than 40 per cent of the New Statesman’s web traffic is generated by online readers sharing content on social media.

The New Statesman’s powerful online presence has also helped to generate digital subscriptions via its new iPad and iPhone app. The NS app, a smartly designed digital representation of the magazine, has been downloaded by thousands of users since its launch just two weeks ago.

Jason Cowley continued: “Our digital subscriptions, including those on Kindle, are growing rapidly and we are now being read all over the world by people who are interested in good writing, original thinking and progressive ideas. We are especially committed to the essay and to long-form journalism.

“The New Statesman continues to reduce its losses and, because of the success of our centenary year, will be profitable in 2014. It’s a remarkable transformation in the fortunes of this great magazine.”

The NS app is available to download from the iTunes App Store and comes with a free copy of the magazine’s acclaimed centenary double issue of 12 April 2013. Digital subscriptions can be taken out through Apple (annual at £79.99, monthly £7.99, single issue £2.99).


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For the first time in my life I have a sworn enemy – and I don’t even know her name

The cyclist, though, was enraged. “THAT’S CLEVER, ISN’T IT?” she yelled. “WALKING IN THE ROAD!”

Last month, I made an enemy. I do not say this lightly, and I certainly don’t say it with pride, as a more aggressive male might. Throughout my life I have avoided confrontation with a scrupulousness that an unkind observer would call out-and-out cowardice. A waiter could bring the wrong order, cold and crawling with maggots, and in response to “How is everything?” I’d still manage a grin and a “lovely, thanks”.

On the Underground, I’m so wary of being a bad citizen that I often give up my seat to people who aren’t pregnant, aren’t significantly older than me, and in some cases are far better equipped to stand than I am. If there’s one thing I am not, it’s any sort of provocateur. And yet now this: a feud.

And I don’t even know my enemy’s name.

She was on a bike when I accidentally entered her life. I was pushing a buggy and I wandered – rashly, in her view – into her path. There’s little doubt that I was to blame: walking on the road while in charge of a minor is not something encouraged by the Highway Code. In my defence, it was a quiet, suburban street; the cyclist was the only vehicle of any kind; and I was half a street’s length away from physically colliding with her. It was the misjudgment of a sleep-deprived parent rather than an act of malice.

The cyclist, though, was enraged. “THAT’S CLEVER, ISN’T IT?” she yelled. “WALKING IN THE ROAD!”

I was stung by what someone on The Apprentice might refer to as her negative feedback, and walked on with a redoubled sense of the parental inadequacy that is my default state even at the best of times.

A sad little incident, but a one-off, you would think. Only a week later, though, I was walking in a different part of town, this time without the toddler and engrossed in my phone. Again, I accept my culpability in crossing the road without paying due attention; again, I have to point out that it was only a “close shave” in the sense that meteorites are sometimes reported to have “narrowly missed crashing into the Earth” by 50,000 miles. It might have merited, at worst, a reproving ting of the bell. Instead came a familiar voice. “IT’S YOU AGAIN!” she yelled, wrathfully.

This time the shock brought a retort out of me, probably the harshest thing I have ever shouted at a stranger: “WHY ARE YOU SO UNPLEASANT?”

None of this is X-rated stuff, but it adds up to what I can only call a vendetta – something I never expected to pick up on the way to Waitrose. So I am writing this, as much as anything, in the spirit of rapprochement. I really believe that our third meeting, whenever it comes, can be a much happier affair. People can change. Who knows: maybe I’ll even be walking on the pavement

Mark Watson is a stand-up comedian and novelist. His most recent book, Crap at the Environment, follows his own efforts to halve his carbon footprint over one year.

This article first appeared in the 20 October 2016 issue of the New Statesman, Brothers in blood