If there is any doubt that users are going online to read their news, there's finally proof to dissuade you from thinking otherwise. According to data released in a new report by Nielsen Online for the Newspaper Association of America (NAA), average monthly unique audience figures for newspaper Web sites grew by more than 3.6 million in 2007. This is a record year for the industry and an increase of more than six percent over 2006 numbers.In addition, monthly unique visitors to these sites averaged 62.8 million in last year’s fourth quarter. This itself is a record as it is the largest in any quarter since NAA began tracking online usage in January 2004. Interestingly, October proved to be a boom for newspaper Web sites as they experienced more than 63.2 million people, more than any month on record. So what should you make of all this record-setting online visits? NAA President and CEO John F. Sturm seems to think that it reflects the efforts of “Newspapers [to] continue to successfully transform themselves into multimedia companies, offering unparalleled content that reaches an audience growing in both size and sophistication.” I might have said it differently, adding that newspapers have been wrestling with their identities as an online media source for some time. Hopefully this data will help them reshape their goals and objectives for the future. Sturm also added that "as our industry’s transition accelerates, it is clear consumers recognize newspapers as their trusted source of information in an increasingly digital environment.” I don't think anyone is disputing whether the user recognizes the validity of online newspapers; it's more of an issue as to whether the newspapers are willing to venture outside their traditional publishing initiatives.