A key tool for any journalist these days are the different kinds of data that are out there.
As the editor of the Burnaby NOW, I closely watch our data analytics to see what stories people read online.
One thing our local readers definitely love to read are stories about people who win the lottery. I wrote a while back about a lighthouse keeper who had to wait months to collect his prize because, well, he didn’t have a backup lighthouse keeper available. That story was read more than 265,000 times.
People dream about the lottery and love reading about people who win the lottery.
These days, with the global health scare, finally killed people’s interest in lottery winners.
For example, Burnaby’s Saeid Ebrahimi discovered he was $5-million richer after winning the Lotto 6/49 jackpot from the February 22, 2020 draw.
I wrote about his big win and how the win offered some welcome relief from worrying about his family currently in Iran, one of the focal points of the COVID-19 pandemic.
I call my family in Iran every day,” says Ebrahimi. “My parents, three brothers, their wives and children are all back home and I know it’s been very bad over there.”
It was a touching story that you can still read here.
Normally when a Burnaby resident wins big, the story lights up on our website.
This time? Crickets.
I know because I watch the analytics closely. That’s how much people are worrying about COVID-19. Even a positive and heartwarming story can’t dragged people away from COVID-19 news these days.
That’s the kind of gloom that is hanging over all of us right now. It’s obliterated any sense of joy we normally get out of life.
I did manage to smile looking at the photo of Ebrahimi holding his ridiculous cheque. I was happy for him. I imagined him sharing the joy with his family. I dreamed of him buying a freakishly expensive car or a giant home. It gave me a few minutes of relief from the unrelenting doom.
We can all use a little of that right now.
Follow Chris Campbell on Twitter @shinebox44.