The Washington Examiner‘s newsroom takes part in an interesting weekly ritual.

Since at least 2007, reporters and editors have kept a internal brag sheet of Drudge hits that regularly gets sent to management, FishbowlDC has learned. In the report, it is noted which reporters got Drudge hits and how many. Reporters are asked to contribute to these reports. What’s more, there is a feeling in the newsroom that stories are developed to attract a Drudge link. Reporters who get hits are highly praised, as they are at many publications.

In turn, reporters get excited, as naturally they would, when they hit the Drudge jackpot.  “3 Drudge hits this morning,” tweeted Examiner’s Charlie Spiering last December.

Earlier today we reported that the Washington Examiner has purchased ads on Drudge. In response, Editor Stephen Smith said he does not believe these ads sway Drudge’s editorial choices whatsoever. He also said he believes those who visit Drudge would be the very people who would read the Examiner.

We’ve asked Editor Stephen Smith for further comment on this topic.

UPDATE: Smith wrote to FishbowlDC: “The publisher prepares a weekly report on the activities of all departments. On the editorial side, these might include anything from a big scoop to TV appearances to web and blog pickups, which of course would include Drudge hits. But the Drudge component is a very small part of the editorial round-up, and a tiny portion of the overall newspaper report.”