Editorial – Really big news!

Jeff Burgar

A celebrity once said, “My favourite part of newspapers is the obituaries. I always check to see if I am still alive.”
Author Mark Twain said ,“Reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated.”
It’s also a topic at local coffee shops, work places, lunch rooms or watering holes: “Did you hear [so and so] died?”
There is no doubt obituary notices are the most talked about and written about items since, well, the death of Jesus. Including this newspaper and websites.
Our obituary pages tally up the “most read” counts consistently since we started counting such things back in 2016. Our front pages both in print and online actually collect more traffic, but we only count total views and views on individual stories.
The numbers vary much from month to month. The big reason is, big news. A story capturing much interest gets people coming to learn all they can. Plus, it happens often people are very interested in who mouths off over some story. When two or three more people get in on things, spreading rumours and opinions, it goes nuts. Next thing you know, it’s major flame attacks.
This is mostly online. The more outrageous the flame attack, the more eyeballs it attracts. Which is good for Facebook business and makes clowns feel good. The newspaper industry can’t allow this because there are Canadian laws. That’s why you see news sites like CBC and ourselves “moderating” what people say on their online sites and in print.
Didn’t see your letter or post? Usually we send a note to you explaining why. But if you use a fake name and fake address and expect action, we can’t contact you to clean up.
We use several different methods to count reader and viewership. The method which gives us lowest counts gives half what gives us the highest. Odd, eh? The lowball method says we average 58,000 views per month across all pages. Thank you, readers!
So the big story in 2021, as far as our readers are concerned? Generally speaking, as a topic, it has to be the continuing saga of COVID-19. However, we don’t track such stories as a group, like we do with obituaries.
Individually, the hottest story was the infamous “KKK hood spotted in Grimshaw.” That story alone, carried in January of 2021, attracted just under 21,000 views. Just behind was the “Police dog shot and killed,” run in mid-June with only 500 fewer views.
Traffic dropped considerably to the next story. That was the municipal elections held in October. That story brought in a total of 13,000 views.
Other stories brought in fewer views, but still attracted several thousands, including:
“La Crete Schools exempt from online learning”
“Former SL mayor running for senate”
“HP Peace Officer facing charges”
“Police admit shooting, killing Gift Lake man”
“UCP claim unfounded” [Municipalities denied supporting MLA Pat Rehn]
In 2022? We’re hoping for the good news stories. Lottery winners are always big. A hit will be COVID gone. Oil at least at $70 or more.
And finally, peace and goodwill! Best wishes to us all in 2022!

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