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    Can healthy web site traffic save newspapers?

    Raw numbers don't really tell whether newspapers are profiting from the uptick in visits to their sites, said Mike McGuire, vice president of research for the media industry at Gartner, in the United States. "The challenge is how papers can effectively monetize that. There is a concern that a lot of people expect ad-supported content to be free."

    Fewer people are thumbing through newspapers, but more than ever are clicking on them, according to the latest industry findings -- and that trend appears to be on an upward spiral, with no end in sight.

    What it means to newspapers' profitability, however, remains a mystery.

    Newspaper Web sites attracted a record audience in 2007, with an average of 60 million unique visitors each month, according to data compiled by ACNielsen's online tracking network and released Thursday by the Newspaper Association of America.

    That edged out 56.4 million monthly visits in 2006.

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