Looking back on the year’s most-clicked stories is a useful exercise for us here at the News Bulletin.
We have some idea about what stories our readers want to see us cover. We closely monitor which articles our online readers are clicking, and it informs our decisions regarding what stories we write about.
It’s an inexact science. There’s an adage in media: ‘if it bleeds, it leads,’ that is to say, it’s the front-page story, or the one that leads off the newscast. Our website traffic reinforces that it’s the ‘bad news,’ more often than not, that our online audience is reading. We hope, while they’re on our site, they might be drawn to some the other stories that we cover as part of our mandate as a community newspaper.
For 2017, the most-clicked article on the News Bulletin website was Passengers denied ferry ride after breaking rules, posted May 23, about a couple from the Comox Valley who allegedly cheated on their fare, smoked on the car deck and verbally abused staff. When all was said and done, the incident only delayed the ferry half an hour and it certainly wasn’t a news story of the year, but something about it got people clicking. Perhaps it was the ambiguity of the headline – which rules did the passengers break? I think more likely, it’s just that we on the Island care about what happens on ferries because we all take them.
The second-most-read story of the year was UFO spotted near Shawnigan Lake, written by our sister paper in the Cowichan Valley and posted to our website July 13.
Third was Man dies of self-inflicted gunshot wound, posted June 20; we don’t always choose to report on suicides, but this one happened in a public place, at a local strip mall.
The fourth-most-clicked story was Specialist suspended after going back to paper-based orders. The April 27 article covered one of many developments in the continued rollout of IHealth in 2017.
Rounding out the top five was Missing Nanaimo senior found dead after six-day search. The Oct. 28 story reported on the death of Faye Hanson, who had been missing in a forested area south of the city.
Other articles in the top 10 were: Nanaimo teacher reprimanded for professional misconduct, Oct. 24; Nanaimo RCMP search for four suspects in alleged theft of meat, electronics, April 12; King Arthur Court gets new owners, new name, April 22; Vancouver Island entrepreneur strikes a deal with a dragon, Oct. 13; and Missing Vancouver Island woman found dead, Sept. 15. (The latter article reported on the death of filmmaker Twyla Roscovich, of Sointula.)
I think it’s noteworthy that three of our 10 most-read stories had no real local connection. Nanaimo is our community and our focus, but there are reminders, sometimes, how we are part of a greater mid-Island community, too, and to some extent, a Vancouver Island community.
In 2018, we’ll continue to tell Nanaimo’s stories, whatever they may be. We’ll also share other stories we think you might like to know about; you can click them, or not.
Thank you for reading the News Bulletin and we hope that any time you visit our website or open our pages, you’ll find all kinds of different stories to read.