In a review of Digg v3, TechCrunch declares that Digg is challenging The New York Times online in terms of page views. As evidence, Mike references an Alexaholic graph. Let’s look at the actual numbers.

According to TechCrunch, Digg has 800,000 daily unique visitors and 9 million page daily views. Here are the NYTimes.com traffic stats:

NYTimes Traffic Stats

If you extrapolate Digg’s daily page views to about 270 million monthly page views, it is definitely within striking distance of the Times. It’s also possible that Digg could rival The Times in terms of unique visitors in the not too distant future — it’s already half way there based on daily uniques.

To me, the interesting question is how Digg will rival The New York Times as a source of the most important news of the day. The Digg community has a reputation for some indiosyncratic choices, but certainly on technology, Digg has a breadth of “coverage” that already exceeds that of the Times.

The real test will be on World & Business News — I go to the NYT site every day because I want to know that the Iraqi government has declared a state of emergency, that the SEC is examing a large hedge fund, and that in Congo hunger and disease are eroding democracy.

Can Digg users be counted on to surface the most important global stories (important by some reasonable measure), or will they just obsess over weird stuff?

Digg could very well become an unrivaled daily news source. But as to the source of Digg’s World news, Digg users will still be sitting in comfy chairs while other people put on body armor to report from war zones. Digg (and every news filter for that matter) is a leech on every news gatherer, from blogger journalists to institutional journalists.

I’m not saying that the news filtering role in isn’t absolutely critical in getting your arms around the bubble of content online. But as to news gathering, especially of world news, I hope that there is still an economically viable way to fund the reporting from Congo if Digg further erodes the newspaper business model.

UPDATE

Rob Hyndman shines a spotlight on the key business question for Digg vs. the NYT — Which audience is more valuable to advertisers?

I’ve banged this drum before with Audiences Are NOT Created Equal.

It would be interesting to see some audience research from Digg to put some meat on those unique visitor bones.