Leading newspaper and magazine websites in the UK have out-performed the wider online marketplace with double-digit growth in audiences in 2008, according to Nielsen Online.

The top 10 newspaper sites attracted on average 23% more visitors last month than they recorded in November 2007, while the number of visitors accessing the top 10 magazine sites were up 30%.

The website for one of the UKs biggest papers, The Guardian, continues to lead the press pack with 3.4 million unique visitors, despite having the lowest year-on-year rise of 14%.

The leading magazine websites cover a wide array of sectors, led by Auto Trader with 1.8 million visitors.

However, both sets of figures are in stark contrast to the general malaise reported for the same publishers’ print circulations in 2008.

Research firm, Deloitte, warned that one in 10 print publications are likely to be forced to drastically reduce their frequency, move online or close entirely next year.

Alex Burmaster, communications director of Nielsen Online, says, “Regardless of what’s happening with print circulations, the major papers have had a fantastic year online, all experiencing strong growth in audience numbers.”

Not to be left out, Australia’s newspaper sites are also faring well, with The Age‘s report on the death of Aussie actor Heath Ledger earlier in 2008 receiving over 850,000 hits.