That's why this column on Web hits at the Project for Excellence in Journalism site is so important.
To quote Jim Brady:
I was pretty confident that a story about the celebrity meltdown du jour would get more traffic than our story on President Obama’s current thinking on the Department of Agriculture. But The Washington Post’s bread and butter is coverage of the federal government, politics, diplomacy, national security, local news and local sports, not national entertainment news. To put it another way: If The Washington Post decided to promote stories on its home page based purely on traffic potential, what makes it unique would quickly evaporate.
And, his example originally quoted by Romenesko:
There was nothing in our traffic history to suggest that stories about military veterans were of particular interest to our readers. But when Dana Priest and Anne Hull uncovered the poor conditions at Walter Reed Army Hospital, the story went global in hours. That kind of journalism will be increasingly at risk if we get too caught up in the race for page views.
The search for the silver bullet is one of the reasons, to mix a metaphor, that journalists have been chasing their tails for the last several years. The most successful content isn't the kind that follows an audience; it's the kind that creates an audience.