During my more than 25 years in the newspaper business, I’ve seen a lot of changes in media.
I still remember being dumbfounded watching a photographer name Nick Didlick take a photo with one of the first digital cameras, download it onto one of the first laptops and then email it to his editor.
“Your mouth is hanging open,” he said with a laugh.
I started in newspapers back in the days of printing out sheets of news copy before slicing up the columns, putting them through a waxer and then pasting them down on galleys. The galleys would then be boxed up and driven to a press.
It still seems like a dream (or a nightmare) that newspapers were put together like that.
Today, the big advancement in newspapers is the use of analytics to track the stories we post online. It’s an invaluable tool for editors to watch what stories are read or ignored. We can track not just how many people are reading a story, but where they arrived at our website from. Mobile. Desktop. Facebook.
It’s a good way to help understand the stories Burnaby NOW readers want to read online.
Despite the cynicism some readers (and a few journalists) have about what people’s online reading habits are, it’s not cat videos or listicles NOW readers are interested in each day. No, for the most part it’s serious journalism about important subjects, with a few lighter stories sprinkled into the mix.
Sure, a lot of NOW readers went crazy for a story we ran about an “insane ice cream” shop that opened in Metrotown. After all, who doesn’t like “insane” ice cream choices?
I know I do.
But in reviewing the most-read stories on the NOW website in 2018, I was proud to see our readers were interested in some weighty subjects.
Here now is a list of the most-read local stories for the Burnaby NOW in 2018:
- “Anti-SOGI activist gunning for seat on Burnaby school board.” Laura-Lynn Tyler Thompson, a Christian blogger, author and former co-host of The 700 Club Canada, announced she was running for a spot at the Burnaby school board table. She would also play a part in a top-20 most-read story when a yelling match broke out during a school trustee all-candidates’ meeting in October. Burnaby RCMP had to be called.
- The arrest and charge of a suspect in the murder of Burnaby teenager Marrisa Shen in September. This story stunned the entire community because it came so long after Shen’s murder.
- “Burnaby residents ask city to get rid of pipeline protest camps outside Trans Mountain terminal.” This was the beginning of the end for Camp Cloud.
- “Telus wins latest round in quest to fire tardy Burnaby employee.” This story appealed to anyone who has ever watched a co-worker flout the rules.
- “Burnaby resident says parking tickets issued out of the blue after 31 years in neighbourhood.” People hate when the city gets tough on parking.
- Our story on Burnaby North Secondary being replaced for $79 million. This was a personal favourite because I graduated from BNS back in the Dark Ages.
- “Forget Disneyland, this Burnaby lottery winner is going to the Philippines.” People love reading about lottery winners.
- “North Burnaby residents want their streets closed to commuters.” This was a polarizing story as readers fought on Facebook about where people should be allowed to drive.
As you can see, it’s a wide range of topics. All of these stories hit readers on a certain gut level.
All I know is that I appreciate every single one of our readers for taking the time to read out stories. We work hard to come up with stories you want to read and will be putting an even bigger emphasis on our online content in 2019.